Nigeria has reported 23 fresh COVID-19 deaths and 1,479 new infections in 24 hours.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this via Twitter on Thursday night and noted that the new infections were recorded in Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and 23 other states.
The agency said that the 23 new deaths brought the nation’s death toll to 1, 405.
Lagos, however, remains the epicentre of the virus with 697 cases with the FCT trailing behind with 201 infections.
Five other states with fresh cases include Nasarawa – 80, Plateau -74, Rivers 72, Edo – 46 and Adamawa – 43.
Others are Osun 39, Akwa Ibom – 35, Delta – 31, Anambra 27, Oyo – 24, Kano – 21, Abia and Enugu with 19 each, Ogun – 18, Sokoto -12.
States with fewer cases include Bauchi and Taraba – 7, Ekiti, Gombe and Imo – 4, Bayelsa and Jigawa – 2 and Zamfara recording just one case.
“Our discharges today include 642 community recoveries in Lagos State, 312 in Oyo State and 99 in Plateau State managed in line with guidelines,” the NCDC said.
The health agency also announced it has activated a shortcode– “6232” with support from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC),
“This number has been introduced as a means for the public to contact NCDC’s Connect Centre and access verified information on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
“The shortcode is a toll-free and easy-to-remember number, which means that all calls to NCDC through ‘6232’ are free of charge,” it added.
Local Vaccine Production
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the country should start a discussion on how to ramp up capacity to be able to manufacture vaccines locally.
Nigeria – and most African countries – has been largely left behind compared to countries such as the US, UK, Russia, and China that have rolled out mass vaccination programmes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country is expected to take delivery of some 100,000 vaccine shots by the end of January, but that is a drop in the ocean, in relation to the population.
“I think that we must be talking now about local vaccine production, improving the training of laboratory scientists, and generally improving our capacity to respond in various ways,” he said.
“We must really focus on the opportunities that this period really gives us. What I have noticed is that unless something like this happens, we are very frequently relaxed and just hope for the best. I think we are in a position now where we can do a lot. In fact, there is an opportunity to do more in terms of government funding.
“So, I think this is a major responsibility for us, the government, at this time, to really look at how we can, at least, do much better in terms of preparing young men and women for the challenges ahead. This point was also made about the quality of laboratory scientists and the quality of medical personnel and paramedics and all that.”