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‘We expect coronavirus cases in Nigeria to keep rising,’ – NCDC says

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The director general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, says the agency expects the number of coronavirus cases in Nigeria to keep rising in the short term.

Nigeria has recorded 111 confirmed cases of the virus, as of the end of Sunday, March 29, 2020, and led to the implementation of stricter measures to contain the disease.

In a national address by President Muhammadu Buhari late on Sunday, he ordered that Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun be locked down for at least 14 days to combat the spread.

Speaking during an interview on Channels TV on Monday, March 30, Ihekweazu said the infectious rate of the virus means the country’s cases will continue to rise.

“We’ve crossed the 100 mark and the reality is there’s a virus circling in our midst, and that is why Mr President came up yesterday to speak to Nigerians.

“In the short term, we do expect the numbers to keep rising, but we also expect that we’ll be able to get on top of this,” he said.

He noted that Buhari’s extra measures are needed, and that it’s a call for Nigerians to rally together and support these measures.

“From today, we’ll appeal to Nigerians to bear the few weeks of pain that’ll come. Stay at home as much as possible,” he appealed.

The NCDC boss also noted that Nigeria has been lucky so far with the virus as its cases have been mild to moderate with one death unfortunately recorded.

A major concern about Nigeria’s response has been its low number of testing conducted after one month which Ihekweazu put at around 2,000 in total on Monday.

He however noted that that the agency is focused on increasing the capacity for testing.

“There are new test technologies that have just been approved. We’ve already started the procurement process for that. They should be in the country in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Nigeria has recorded 111 cases in 12 states – Lagos (68), FCT (21), Ogun (3), Enugu (2), Ekiti (1), Oyo (7), Edo (2), Bauchi (2), Osun (2), Rivers (1), Benue (1), and Kaduna (1).

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