Publisher Daniels G.O
On Dec.17, Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 announced that Nigeria has entered a second wave of coronavirus infections.
Indeed, the number of COVID-19 cases detected in the country in the past two weeks indicates that a second wave of the outbreak has begun.
According to the NCDC website, Nigeria recorded more new COVID-19 cases last week than at any other week since the first case of the virus was registered in the country in February.
Also, on Dec.17, the country registered its latest highest daily figure of 1,145, a record likely to be broken soon going by the way the virus is spreading.
Until the resurgence of the infections in December, Nigeria never had a higher number of daily infections than the 745 reported on June 19.
HEWAN observed with great concern the resurgence of what experts say is the emergence of a new variant of the pandemic coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in some countries and a need for Nigerian health authorities to put measures not to allow it I to the country.
As at today, the new variant is reportedly spreading rapidly in Britain and the World Health Organusation has confirmed nine instances of the same variant in Denmark, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands.
Several other countries including South Africa have also confirmed the emergence of variants similar to the one now ravaging Britain.
Scientists say the new variant is 70 per cent more transmissible than the previously dominant strain though there’s no evidence yet that it could be more fatal. There’s however, fear that it will spread swiftly to other countries.
Expectedly, countries around the world have reacted swiftly to prevent or curtail the spread of the new variant. As at today, over 40 countries have banned flights from Britain while neighbouring France has temporarily shut its borders.
However, health authorities in Nigeria have remained silent and yet to respond to the new development. Unfortunately, the nation is already experiencing an influx of travellers, as expected in this festive period, from different countries including those now being ravaged by the new strain of COVID-19.
It is, therefore, imperative that the country acts fast as the world confronts another wave of the pandemic.
HEWAN calls on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, place a ban on flights from Britain and other countries currently experiencing the spread of the new COVID-19 variant.
We also urge the government not to wait until the virus gets to our shores but quickly take necessary steps to keep the variant away from Nigeria.
As the whole world is racing for the production of a vaccine for the cure of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, we urge the federal government to ensure funds are dedicated for research institutes such as the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and others ,that can develop a homegrown vaccine that can tackle it.
We strongly believe we have the capacity for the development of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
A stitch in time saves nine!
The Health Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) is an umbrella body of all health/science reporters and editors (TV, RADIO, PRINT and Online), in Nigeria, registered first as members of The Nigeria Union of Journalists( NUJ).