Nigeria warns virus cases could explode ‘in days ahead’

Nigeria's Minister for Health Osagie Ehanire displays an image of the the novel coronavirus Covid-19 after the first case of the virus was confirmed in Nigeria in February 2020. There are now concerns that unless the tracing of suspected cases is picked up quicker, Nigeria may experience an explosion in confirmed cases in the next few days.
Nigeria's Minister for Health Osagie Ehanire displays an image of the the novel coronavirus Covid-19 after the first case of the virus was confirmed in Nigeria in February 2020. There are now concerns that unless the tracing of suspected cases is picked up quicker, Nigeria may experience an explosion in confirmed cases in the next few days.
Image: AFP/ KOLA SULAIMON

Nigeria’s government on Thursday warned that Africa’s most populous nation could soon see an “exponential” increase in coronavirus infections unless contacts of confirmed cases are tracked down quicker.

The country of around 190 million people has so far recorded just 51 infections and 1 death, but testing has been limited.

“We have 4,370 people of interest whom we are tracing. We urge those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities,” Information Minister Lai Mohammed said.

We are on the verge of reaching the level of community spread. We must stop this immediately or we will record exponential cases in the days ahead
Information Minister
Lai Mohammed

“We are on the verge of reaching the level of community spread. We must stop this immediately or we will record exponential cases in the days ahead.”

Experts have cautioned that Nigeria is highly vulnerable to the spread of the disease given its weak healthcare system and high population density.

The country has taken a raft of measures to try to curb the virus including closing its airports and land borders, shuttering schools and telling people to stay home in key cities.

The vast majority of confirmed infections so far have been from people coming to Nigeria from abroad, but officials in economic hub Lagos have already recorded some local transmission of the disease.


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