Nigeria reports highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases

FILE PHOTO: A health worker sprays his headset during a community testing exercise, as authorities race to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Abuja, Nigeria April 16, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A health worker sprays his headset during a community testing exercise, as authorities race to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Abuja, Nigeria April 16, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

Nigeria confirmed Tuesday night 117 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the biggest single-day increase since the most populous African country reported the first case on Feb. 27.

“As of 11:25 p.m. Tuesday local time (2225 GMT), Nigeria has reported a total of 782 cases,” the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said, adding that it has seen 197 cases discharged from hospitals and 25 deaths across the country.

So far the pandemic has spread to the capital city of Abuja and 24 states.

Lagos, the country’s economic hub, also the worst-hit state by COVID-19, recorded 59 news cases on Tuesday, bringing its total to 430. The Federal Capital Territory, where the capital Abuja is located, came second with 29 new cases on Tuesday and a total number of 118 cases.

The disease could make its way to every state in Nigeria, NCDC Director-General Chikwe Ihekweazu has warned in a programme on local broadcast Channels TV.

Since the outbreak in Nigeria, the government has stopped international and domestic passenger flights, closed all educational institutions and introduced a lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states, among other measures, to curb the virus’s spread.

On April 13, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announce the decision to extend the lockdown in the three states for two weeks, when several other states also adopted lockdown measures on their own.

All airports will remain closed for two more weeks from Thursday as a result of the extension on lockdown, Nigerian Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said Monday.

Health authorities in Lagos have deployed sampling units for COVID-19 across the local government areas, where samples would be collected from civilians who meet the designated testing criteria.

The strategy aims to expand COVID-19 testing at the community level, said Lagos State Commissioner for Health Akin Abayomi in a statement on Monday.