By Babajide Okeowo
Nigeria is now experiencing a fourth COVID-19 wave, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has declared on Monday.
This development was announced in a statement signed by NCDC Director-General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa.
“Nigeria has recorded a 500% increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks across the country caused by the Delta and Omicron variants,” the statement said.
“As of 19th December 2021, a total of 223,887 cases and 2985 deaths have been recorded in Nigeria across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“The country is now in a fourth COVID-19 wave. The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health, as well as NCDC and its partners, are therefore intensifying risk communication efforts to remind Nigerians of the risk we face and need to take collective responsibility to reduce transmission of the virus.”
The NCDC said the response to the virus requires a collaborative approach.
“Therefore, individuals, families and institutions also need to play their part in protecting each other by ensuring adherence to COVID-19 public health and social measures,” the statement said.
“Critically, Nigerians are urged to adhere to recommended measures by NCDC and other public health authorities, as they celebrate Christmas and New Year.
“Please avoid all non-essential travel within and outside Nigeria to reduce the risk of transmission. The virus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to spread in mass gatherings especially when held indoors with full capacity and poor ventilation.
“We strongly recommend outdoor events with physical distancing, compulsory use of facemasks, and provision of handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers. Please make use of every opportunity provided to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The government has made these vaccines available for all eligible citizens and booster doses available for those previously vaccinated.”
As part of its effort against the virus, the NCDC said it was launching a ‘Celebrate Responsibly’ campaign.
“The Celebrate Responsibly campaign which spans from the Christmas holiday through to the start of the new year, emphasises the responsibility of all Nigerians, the government, private sector, institutions, associations, communities, families and individuals in combating the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.
“Religious leaders and heads of institutions, organisations and businesses are urged to enforce public compliance to COVID-19 preventive measures in their jurisdiction. COVID-19 continues to threaten the lives and the livelihoods of Nigerians therefore we must not let our guards down this festive season. We urge Nigerians to take all precautions necessary to ensure we and our loved ones live to celebrate many more events and festivities.
“The campaign includes the production of key messages, audio and visual materials for wide dissemination. The NCDC urges all individuals, traditional and religious leaders, business owners, the media, transport workers and other institutions and sectors to join the campaign by adopting the key messages and sharing within their networks.
“The Celebrate Responsibly campaign calls on all Nigerians to take all necessary precautions for a safe and healthy Christmas and New Year celebration.”