Nigeria: Coronavirus - Why Lagos, Abuja Have High Number of Cases - Minister

A commercial tricycle operator operating along Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos Nigeria

Lagos and Abuja have recorded the highest numbers of imported cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria because both states are gateways for air travel, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said.

Mr Ehanire said this at a joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force in Abuja on Monday.

The committee was set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to spearhead the coordination of anti-Covid-19 activities in the country.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, is the chairperson of the 12-member task force, which comprises ministers and health experts.

"The high number of imported cases in Lagos and Abuja is directly due to their function as country gateways for air travels," Mr. Ehanire said.

He also said the majority of the recorded cases are persons who came from overseas and the others are close contacts of such returnees.

As of Sunday evening, Nigeria had recorded 111 cases of Covid-19, with Lagos State having the highest number of cases at 68.

According to the latest breakdown by the NCDC, Lagos State is followed by 21 in Abuja, Ogun - 3, Oyo - 7, Edo - 2, Bauchi - 2, Enugu - 2, Osun - 2, while Ekiti, Kaduna, Rivers and Benue states have one case of the infection each.

Response activities

Mr Ehanire said contact tracing has been intensified to promptly detect cases of the virus and isolate them.

"We have intensified contact tracing and our strategy remains to promptly detect cases, isolate them and follow up with their contact and also isolate and treat in order to reduce the spread of the infection," he said.

He also said the federal ministry of health is working closely with states and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to review response activities and to institute measures to protect the health and well-being of Nigerians.

He said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has expanded its capacity by engaging hundreds of ad-hoc staff to support various areas of response, including the call centres, contact tracing and follow up of persons of interest.

In his remarks, Mr Mustapha said the task force is learning from the experiences of other nations.

"The PTF has been methodical, learning from the experiences of other nations and adapting solutions that suit our environment.

"These include measures such as: Enforcing Social distancing, Advising on Personal hygiene, closure of air/land and sea borders, and banning mass gathering above 50 persons.

"Others are restricting movements in high burden areas such as Lagos and Abuja, aggressive contact tracing and isolation of cases, improving medical infrastructure, expanding testing capabilities and establishing new isolation centres," he said.

He urged Nigerians to comply with all measures put in place, remain vigilant and cooperate with security and other agencies.

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