The Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has said the number of COVID-19 cases recorded at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camps across the country is more than reported.
The statement of the minister however contradicts that of the NYSC management which says the high cases reported is misleading.
About 109 pprospective corps members were reported to have tested positive for COVID-19.
But Adenike Adeyemi, NYSC director of press and public relations, claimed that “there is no COVID-19 positive corps member in any of the 37 NYSC orientation Camps nationwide”.
Commenting on the controversy on Wednesday while he spoke to journalists, the minister said more cases of COVID-19 woud be discovered if more tests are carried out.
He said consistent testing and non-compliance to non-pharmaceutical interventions are responsible for the rising cases of infection across the camps.
“Two things are responsible for the high cases of pandemic reported at the National Youth Service Corps camps,” Mohammed said.
“One is because of consistent testing that has been taking place in the camps. The truth of the matter is that if we ramp up testing today, there will be more cases.
“Second reason for the high cases is that people have actually let down their guards. We are no longer obeying non-pharmaceutical interventions such as washing of hands regularly with soap and water or sanitising of hands when that (washing of hand) is not available.”
The minister further advised that Nigerians fight motivation in defeating the virus, amid an increased number of infections that indicates that the country is experiencing a third wave.
“If over 4.2 million people have been lost to the virus world-wide and it is not abating. So we need to take more seriousness on the protocols around COVID-19 especially on non-pharmaceutical interventions,” he said.
“Some countries are even having the 4th and the 5th waves. It is not unique to Nigeria. Because when you look at the wave, like last Saturday it was 1000 plus and now going to 18000 cases in Nigeria.
“In the last four weeks in particular, we have witnessed so much increase even globally. So far, we are witnessing almost four million every week globally and from daily cases of about 540,000, we are now witnessing 570,000 daily worldwide.
“So really, Nigeria is already in the third wave and this case has been compounded by Delta variant. And we have identified the Delta variant in several states in Nigeria also.
“The Delta variant is about 60 times more potent than the wide COVID II. And it is very virulent, deadly and more easily transmissible.
“It appears that while the normal variant will take about seven days to manifest, the delta variant manifests within two days of being infected. So, it is a real challenge for us. But the PSC is not resting on its oars to ensure that they give out necessary directive to national response team to tackle this virus.