Coronavirus: NCDC fears spike in cases as lockdown ends today

Following the Federal Government directive permitting a gradual easing of the lockdown by May 4, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control fears a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country for the next few months.

In an interview with PUNCH, the Director General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, hinted at an inevitable increase in cases given the increasing capacity to find and test more cases.

There were 170 new cases on Saturday as the total rose to 2, 558. The number of discharged persons rose to 400 while the number of deaths increased to 87.

According to the NCDC DG said, “There are various projections that have been developed based on various contexts. With the increasing capacity to find and test more cases, we will continue to see an increase in cases in the next few months.

“Our strategy is to test quickly, detect confirmed cases, isolate and manage cases to recovery and follow up with contacts to reduce the risk of spread.

“In the absence of a vaccine for this disease, we must continue to adhere strictly to directives from the Federal Government on non-pharmaceutical interventions such as closure of large gatherings and physical distancing. By doing these, we have a better chance of reducing the risk of spread of this disease quickly.”

He added that in preparing for the increase in cases, the NCDC was working closely with state governments to rapidly scale up the capacity in treatment centres, even as he had hinted previously that the virus would eventually spread to all the states.

Meanwhile, the NCDC DG has said the country, like the rest of the world, will not return to life as it was before the coronavirus pandemic until 2021.

Ihekweazu, who spoke on Saturday on The Platform, an annual event of Covenant Christian Centre, explained that though mass gatherings could be difficult to avoid, it would be for the best.

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