Nigeria's COVID-19 cases surpass 100,000 amid campaign for vaccines

ABUJA, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria surpassed 100,000 when the country's disease control agency reported 1,024 new cases late Sunday amid government efforts to get vaccines against the coronavirus.

Students wearing COVID-19 protective gear pose for a photo in Lagos, economic hub of Nigeria, Sept. 21, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

The total number of infections in the most populous African country now stood at 100,087, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) reported.

The 1,024 new cases on Sunday were reported from 17 states, including Abuja, the federal capital territory, and Lagos, the economic hub.

Eight new deaths were recorded, bringing the total number of COVID-19 fatalities in Nigeria to 1,358, the NCDC said.

A total of 80,030 COVID-19 patients have recovered and discharged from hospital, with 18,699 active cases left.

Nigeria has carried out 1,025,560 COVID-19 tests since the onset of the pandemic about 11 months ago.

The NCDC said a multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Center is coordinating response activities across the country, which is battling a second wave of COVID-19.

On Dec. 17, Nigeria recorded 1,145 confirmed cases, the highest daily tally since February 2020.

Experts are also concerned about the possible presence in Nigeria of new variants of the coronavirus that were reported in Britain and South Africa, which can be spread faster.

Mariam Tijani, a public health expert, said with the new strain of COVID-19 and the second wave comes the urgency for people to take personal responsibility and embrace non-pharmaceutical measures to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Tijani said the strategies that helped flatten the pandemic curve during the first wave should be intensified.

The government has said it will not relent in taking necessary precautions, including strict measures, while seeking to get vaccines against the disease.

The NCDC urged individuals and institutions to take responsibility and play their part in ensuring adherence to the preventive measures.

Tunji Akintade, a former chairman of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, said the government should walk the talk by leading the way through enforcement of penalties and sanctions to defaulters of COVID-19 safety protocols, irrespective of the status or connection of defaulters.

Health minister Osagie Ehanire said earlier that Nigeria hopes to get up to 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this month to inoculate frontline health workers who risk infection on a daily basis.

The country will try to get additional vaccines, the minister said.

During a visit by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Abuja last week, the two countries agreed to continue working together against COVID-19 until the pandemic is completely overcome, as part of seven important consensuses on deepening bilateral cooperation.