Coronavirus: How Covid-19 cases rose from 44 to 1,095 within 30 days (explainer)

Coronavirus: How Covid-19 cases rose from 44 to 1,095 within 30 days (explainer)

Barely two months after Nigeria joined the list of Covid-19-hit countries, the virus seems to have taken a dangerous bend with over one thousand cases now on record according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) - but how did it happen?

Nigeria, recalls, announced its index Covid-19 case on Thursday, February 27, after an Italian man from Milan tested positive in Lagos, forcing the country to activate its emergency centre nationwide.

Since then the infection has been spreading. In what heightened the scare nationwide, NCDC on Friday, April 24, at exactly 11:30 pm announced 114 new cases, bringing the total toll to 1,095 as the virus hits 28 states including the FCT.

32 deaths have been recorded, while 208 patients have been discharged after fully recovering with Lagos still the epicentre of the virus in Nigeria with 657 cases.

From 44 to 1,095 cases - How did it happen within one month?

Exactly 30 days back, precisely March 24, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported that the country had just 44 cases - that was a month after the index case was recorded.

In a statement from the agency, 44 out of 178 people screened across 16 states tested positive.

"A total of 178 persons have been screened for COVID-19 (4 new) in 16 States (Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, FCT, Kano, Katsina, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Rivers and Yobe) out of which 44 were confirmed positive,” NCDC reported.

Fast forward on April 24, whopping 1,09 have been recorded and this is owed to some factors linked to large scale testing which NCDC has aggressively embarked upon since more cases from community transmission were confirmed.

On Wednesday, April 8, the federal government disclosed that most of those cases are as a result of the community transmission instead of imported cases.

Sani Aliyu, the national coordinator of the presidential task force on Covid-19, raised the alarm during the committee's briefing in Abuja.

How lockdown order and large scale testing has helped discovered more cases

On Sunday, March 28, President Buhari stopped all movements in the FCT, Lagos, and Ogun states in a bid to contain the coronavirus pandemic following growing reported cases.

The president gave the directive during a presidential broadcast, adding that the lockdown directive would be for an initial period of 14 days.

Although the lockdown put many economic activities on hold and left people groaning, it has apparently helped to cut the wing of large scale transmission as NCDC focused on cases reported bases on symptoms and travel history.

On Wednesday, April 15, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, NCDC director-general, disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered that large scale testing should be carried out to check the spread of the virus which started in Wuhan, China last year.

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Ihekweazu, who spoke during the presidential task force meeting on Covid-19, said the president mandated the NCDC to increase testing in Lagos to 2,000; FCT, 1,000 and the rest of Nigeria to 1,000 per day.

"We now have the capacity to test 1,500 people per day across the network. This capacity is not being fully utilized at the moment.

Our target following President’s speech is to get 2,000 samples per day in Lagos, 1,000 in Abuja and 1,000 for the rest of the country," Ihekweazu said.

As part of its strategy, the NCDC director also added that large scale testing will be carried out across the country from May 2020.

In the next one month, NCDC will expand testing capacity to six more molecular laboratories in the country, resulting in a total of 14 laboratories.

"Between May and September 2020; we will roll out mass testing to survey the population, to learn more about this virus and contribute to research and development.”

Covid-19 cases in Africa and globally

2,862,521 Covid-19 cases have been recorded across 210 countries and territories, with 816,003 recoveries and 199,464 deaths - according to Worldometre.

In Africa, World Health Organisation (WHO) said the Covid-19 cases in Africa have reached a 28,000 benchmark as at Saturday, April 25. ( -> We have upgraded to serve you better

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