Dr Osagie Ehanire

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has warned that the country might just be on the verge of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic with the increasing number of cases daily.

Speaking at the PTF daily briefing on Thursday in Abuja, the Minister Of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said that Nigeria was seeing an increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last few days, which the PTF had frequently alluded to, in recent times.

“This rightly suggests that we may just be on the verge of a second wave of this pandemic,” he said.

On the reason for the increase, Ehanire said it stemmed from rising community transmission to a large extent.

“But, to a less extent, from travelers entering Nigeria, among whom we have recorded 87 positive cases arriving in the country, as against 59 in the previous week.

“This number can increase as the volume of travelers rises, especially as people return home for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

“To ensure that we further contain imported cases, Port health officers at points of entry have been directed to be vigilant and diligent in screening travelers arriving Nigeria, especially from high burden countries,” he said.

He further stated that Nigeria recorded 1,843 cases last week as against 1,235 two weeks before that, and 1,126 the week before then.

“In the past 24 hours, 474 new confirmed cases and two deaths were recorded, with an indication that this week’s figure will beat last week’s.

“As of today, we have crossed the 70,000 marks with a total of 70,669 confirmed cases out of which 65,242 have been treated and discharged. Sadly, the number of deaths has now reached 1,184 as against 1,167 two weeks before,” he added.

While calling for proper adherence to all COVID-19 safety measures and nonpharmaceutical measures, the minister said that everyone must play his role in the efforts to prevent the explosive spread of the pandemic in Nigeria.

“While we strive for the best, we must prepare for a possible second wave which we must ensure does not get to be worse than what we have seen so far,.

“Judging from what we observe in other countries, the U.S., UK and other countries are going through very difficult times, and we do sympathize with them.

“To prepare ourselves, I have directed that all Isolation and Treatment centres, which were hitherto closed due to reduced patient load, be prepared for reopening and the staff complement put on alert,” he added.