By Stephen Ubanna
Chikwe Ihekweazu, a Director General, Nigerian Center for Disease Control, NCDC, has a big task at hand to convince the International Community and the Multi-lateral Financial Institutions that the Coronavirus cases that had been declared in the country since the out- break of the Wuhan of China emerged disease were real.
There had been criticisms in the recent time in several quarters that the NCDC daily reports on the COVID 19 update in the country did not match the number of beds in the Isolation centers in different parts of the country, particular, Lagos. Many believe that the criticisms had been initiated by those who are opposed to the policy measures put in place by the government to curb the spread of the disease.
They were particular that the critics intentions were basically to forestall the Board of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, from approving the $3.4 billion loan facility requested by the country to support the fight against the spread of the disease. But they got it wrong as the IMF Board off never allowed such criticisms to influence their judgment as they approved the loan to the admiration of Hajia Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance. Budget and National Planning.
The critics may not have stopped Chikweazu, the NCDC, Director General from giving out a daily update of the infected persons in the country. The agency had tweeted on Friday, April 30, 2020, that the number of confirmed cases of COVID 19 patients has hit 2, 170, thus putting the country in the league of South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria.
At present , the Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairman of African Union, AU, home country, South Africa, top the list of Coronavirus confirmed cases in the African Continent with 5,951 . It was quickly followed by Egypt, 5,895 ,Morocco, 4,687, and Algeria, 4,154.
Going by the way people are contacting the disease on a daily basisi in the country, there are fears that the country may soon catch up with these other frontline Coronavirus countries n Africa. This is where Boss Mustapha , Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID 19 and Secretary to the government of the Federation may have sit up to tighten the noose against further spread of the disease.
Trailing behind these front line African countries that had contacted the sickness in their thousands are Nana Akufo’s home country, Ghana, 2,074, Cameroon, 1832, Guinea, 1,537, Cote dÍvoire, 1,333, Senegal,1,024, Tunisia,998 and Niger 728 confirmed cases.
The country within the African Continent which most people had feared would be hard hit by the disease was Tunisia because of its proximity to Morocco and Algeria. But the number of confirmed COVID 19 Cases in the country, according to the aWHO, remain at 998, while Niger, which share boundary in different states of the Federation with Nigeria had 728 cases as at May 2, 2020.The worry of many was how Nigeria suddenly surpassed Niger which at the break of the disease in the West African Sub-region had a higher number of confirmed cases than Nigeria .
The country, according to sources, may have taken advantage of the porous border in the north west geo-political region, comprising of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa, Kaduna and Katsina to export the disease to the region, particular, Kano state, as people are dying mysteriously.
This may have informed why President Muhammadu Buhari intervened by declaring a compulsory two weeks lock down of the state, thus restricting movement of persons. Take for , instance, of the 298 cases that was recorded last Friday, Kano, alone produced 92 patients, while, Lagos , which was regarded as the epicenter of the disease, and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, produced 30 and 36 Coronavirus patients each.
The case of Benin Republic, another neighboiring country to Nigeria Which had only 68 confirmed cases despite the opening of its seaports for foreign vessels and their Crew members to come in and discharge their cargoes speaks volume.
Patrick Talon, the country’s President appears to be very happy that the Katsina state born Nigerian born Nigerian President had closed the Borders with his country before the out- break of the disease in the Sub-region. He fears that if the borders had not been closed, as the disease was daily rising in Nigeria, it would have also been the situation in his country but it has been drastically controlled with the tight fiscal policy measures put in place.
Given an update on the number of COVID 19 patients as at Saturday, May 2, 2020, the WHO revealed that no fewer than 3, 415,237, persons, had contacted the deadly diseases in the world since its out- break in China on December 31, 2019. The UN health agency had reported that of the figure, 1,087, 190, had recovered after going through the treatment process, leaving 2,088,224, still suffering from the disease.
The bad news was the death of 238,323 persons from the disease across the 203 countries which had contacted the disease, with the highest number of the deaths coming from the North America country of the United States, US, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, UK.