Nigeria on Thursday recorded its worst day thus far in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 23 deaths and 1,479 new cases reported by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The 23 fatalities, the highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic, have raised the number of deaths to 1,405 in total.
With the recent surge in coronavirus cases feeding through into fatalities, Nigeria has been having a consistent spike in deaths from the disease.
In the past 27 days, there have been nearly 200 fatalities as a result of COVID-19 complications in Nigeria.
Health authorities attributed the rising death toll to late referral of COVID-19 patients to treatment centres.
The Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, speaking at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing last week, said caregivers are holding on to suspected cases for too long before presenting them for treatment.
But the NCDC director-general, Chikwe Ihekweazu, attributed the spike in deaths to the surge in infections.
“Once infections numbers are rising there will be a rise in the fatality toll”, he said in a virtual conference Thursday.
The second wave of the virus has continued to sweep across Nigeria with 1,479 new infections recorded in 25 states across the country on Thursday.
The figure, one of the highest daily tallies, thus far, pushed the total number of infections in the country to 105,478.
One in every six persons (16 per cent) tested for COVID-19 has been positive in Nigeria in the past two weeks.
The federal government recently warned that a significant increase in coronavirus infections in Nigeria appears imminent this January due to continued violation of safety protocols during the Christmas period.
Active cases in the country rose sharply from about 3,000 about two months ago to over 20,000 due to a rise in new infections.
Of the over 105,000 cases so far, 83,830 patients have been discharged from hospitals after treatment.
The 1,479 new cases were reported from 25 states – Lagos (697), FCT (201), Nasarawa (80), Plateau (74), Rivers (62), Edo (46), Adamawa (43), Osun (39), Akwa Ibom (35), Delta (31), Anambra (27), Oyo (24), Kano (21), Abia (19), Enugu (19), Ogun (18), Sokoto (12), Bauchi (7), Taraba (7), Ekiti (4), Gombe (4), Imo (4), Bayelsa (2), Jigawa (2), and Zamfara (1)
Lagos led with 697 new cases on Thursday, nearly half of the daily total. The commercial city is Nigeria’s coronavirus epicentre with a total of about 37,000 confirmed cases and about 260 deaths.
The Minister of State for Health, Mr Mamora, warned Nigerians against complacency in containing the COVID-19 pandemic as the much-awaited vaccines may not arrive the country as soon as expected.
The government also said it was expecting to start receiving vaccines for the disease by the end of the month.
So far, Nigeria has conducted over a million COVID-19 tests.