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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Nigeria Records a Sharp New Increase in Covid-19 Cases

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By Chudi Okoye

As the global spate of coronavirus cases begins to show a slight decline (for now), Africa is seeing something of a reverse trend with considerable – though still globally insignificant – increases in the number of cases. Amazingly one country alone out of 54, South Africa, represents one in four of the total confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa and one in five of the related deaths.

Nigeria is nowhere near the South African peck, though it remains in the Top 5 deck in Africa. On June 9, Nigeria recorded its largest stack of daily additions so far, a whopping 663 new cases, thus extending its recent trend of triple-digit daily additions.

Lagos State remains the epicenter in Nigeria at 45% of all coronavirus cases in the country. However, a recent downtick in Lagos offered the Southwest zone a slight respite (although Ogun State experienced a quotidian surge), as also witnessed in the Northwest which has long been noted as a zone of particular zing in Covid-19 infections. Kano State, once commanding as much as 14% of total Nigerian cases, now represents about 7.6%.

As the usual hotspots in Nigeria appear lately to be cooling, if ever so slightly, the calmer geopolitical zones of South South and South East seem to be becoming somewhat warmer. For instance, despite the often brusque and militant exertions of Gov. Wike in Rivers, his state continues to surge in coronavirus cases, now ranked 8th in the country and increasing the overall South South share.

The South East too has seen a recent spike in cases. While it isn’t in the league of zonal leaders Ebonyi, Imo and Abia States, Anambra State has gone from a mere 12 cases to 46 in a matter of days, even as the ever-vigilant Gov. Obiano continues to announce new containment measures. The surge in Anambra comes notably in the wake of the recent Egwu Imoka event in the state capital, Awka, although any correlation is tenuous since authorities are tight-lipped about the locality of the new cases.

It is not improbable that the observed surge in Nigeria is simply a function of increased testing, although Nigeria remains outranked in the pecking order of coronavirus testing in Africa. Or more likely it is an ineluctable spike as the country’s teaming rabbles return to their daily scrabble for survival in the joyless era of Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.

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