Nigeria recorded a 500 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks across the country.
This is contained in a statement issued and signed by the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, in Abuja.
Adetifa attributed the 500 per cent increase in infections in the country to the COVID-19 Delta and Omicron variants.
“As of Dec. 19, Nigeria reported 223,887 cases and 2,985 deaths in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“The country is now in a fourth COVID-19 wave.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health, as well as NCDC and its partners, are therefore intensifying risk communication efforts to remind Nigerians of the risk we face and need to take collective responsibility to reduce transmission of the virus.
“The response to COVID-19 requires a whole-of-society approach. Therefore, individuals, families and institutions also need to play their part in protecting each other by ensuring adherence to COVID-19 public health and social measures,” he explained.
He also disclosed that the NCDC was launching its yuletide season campaign themed #CelebrateResponsibly as part of the #TakeResponsibility campaign which began in February 2020.
“#CelebrateResponsibly focuses specifically on measures Nigerians need to take to protect themselves and loved ones from COVID-19 during this period.
“The #CelebrateResponsibly campaign targets the entertainment industry, transport industry, religious settings, media, security personnel, young people, and the general public to promote adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures during this festive period,” he added.
He urged Nigerians to adhere to recommended measures by the agency and other public health authorities, as they celebrate Christmas and New Year.
“Please avoid all non-essential travel within and outside Nigeria to reduce the risk of transmission.
“The virus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to spread in mass gatherings especially when held indoors with full capacity and poor ventilation.
“We strongly recommend outdoor events with physical distancing, compulsory use of facemasks, and provision of handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers.
“Please make use of every opportunity provided to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” he advised.
The NCDC boss noted that the government had made the COVID-19 vaccines available for all eligible citizens and booster doses available for those previously vaccinated.
The Celebrate Responsibly campaign which spans from the Christmas holiday through to the start of the new year, he said, emphasises the responsibility of all Nigerians, the government, private sector, institutions, associations, communities, families and individuals in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Religious leaders and heads of institutions, organisations and businesses, he added, are urged to enforce public compliance to COVID-19 preventive measures in their jurisdiction.
“COVID-19 continues to threaten the lives and the livelihoods of Nigerians therefore we must not let our guards down this festive season.
“We urge Nigerians to take all precautions necessary to ensure we and our loved ones live to celebrate many more events and festivities.
“The campaign includes the production of key messages, audio and visual materials for wide dissemination.
“The NCDC urges all individuals, traditional and religious leaders, business owners, the media, transport workers and other institutions and sectors to join the campaign by adopting the key messages and sharing within their networks,” he said.