Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday said any malaria-like symptoms should henceforth be considered as Covid-19 virus infection “unless and until proven not to be one.”
The order comes after and is necessitated by a persistent increase in the number of recorded cases of coronavirus in Nigeria’s commercial hub, which is driving up the tally nationwide.
“In this second wave of the pandemic, any malaria-like symptoms should be considered as Covid-19 infection until otherwise proven,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Anyone with such symptoms should proceed to any of the state’s public health facilities or laboratories to get tested for free, the governor said. “Seeking help early and quickly significantly improves the chances of survival for severe to critical cases.”
The surge in coronavirus infections has led to an increase in the number of patients needing oxygen to survive with the figure rising fivefold according to the governor, citing figures from Bloomberg.
“According to Bloomberg, demand for oxygen has risen from 70 six-litre cylinders per day to 350 six-litre cylinders in our Yaba Mainland Hospital,” Sanwo-Olu said Tuesday in an emailed statement. “This is projected to more than double to 750 six-cylinders before the end of January 2021.”
Like other countries across the world, Nigeria is grappling with a second wave of the novel coronavirus. As of Tuesday, the continent’s most populous nation of 200 million inhabitants had 113,305 confirmed cases – with Lagos accounting for nearly 40 percent, or 41,951 infections – and 1,464 deaths.
The second wave of the pandemic has proven to be way more serious with unconfirmed reports of a new strain of the virus, said to be significantly more infectious, found in the country.
The pandemic has been particularly helped by the general laxity, a false sense of security, and non-adherence to safety guidelines by citizens and entertainment gatherings – especially during the Christmas period – after the resumption of economic activities.
A reopening of Nigeria’s airwaves was also followed by weak enforcement of protocols by officials especially in the country’s major airports in Abuja and Lagos.
The rise in cases in recent weeks has forced the state to reopen previously closed isolation centers where the illness is treated and the state has opened discussions with vaccine manufacturers, according to the official statement.
“In the meantime, we are developing a strategy that will articulate the criteria, guidelines, and regulatory framework for providing and monitoring vaccinations in Lagos,” Sanwo-Olu added.