The Director-General Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said the progression of COVID-19 has shown that “the pandemic is a disease, which we will have to learn to live safely with.”
Ihekweazu said this Monday in Abuja at the national briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, while encouraging Nigerians to get vaccinated, if they were yet to, and endeavour to get tested, if they felt any COVID-19 like symptoms.
“Continue to take responsibility to prevent COVID-19 infections, and work with us while we continue to lead on the response and ensure the continued safety of Nigerians, our neighbours and the world.
“Globally, COVID-19 confirmed cases are now over 229 million and deaths of over 4.7 million. Over 5.8 billion vaccination doses have been administered.
“Across the world, schools have reopened, masks and vaccine mandates have been debated, the Delta variant continues to dominate and pose a threat with its increased transmissibility, and countries like New Zealand have reinforced restrictions.
“Here in Nigeria, COVID-19 confirmed cases now exceed 200,000 and unfortunately, deaths exceed 2, 600,” he said.
The NCDC boss said that the agency had continued to work with sister agencies and partners, to sustain the COVID-19 response and ensure better preparedness for future outbreaks.
“Last week, the NCDC and partners – US-CDC – concluded the public health emergency management for professional development programme certification course in Lagos.
“The pandemic has continued over the past 19 months and now it is quite easy to become desensitised to numbers, however, we must not forget that the cases and deaths are not just numbers but family members, loved ones, friends and even colleagues,” he added.
Mr Ihekweazu noted that countries across the world were continuing to live with the new normal of facemasks, providing proof of vaccinations to gain entry to work, younger age groups now receiving vaccines in countries such as Cambodia, which was now vaccinating children aged 6-12.
“Of the great achievement of almost 6 billion vaccine doses being administered, only 2% had been administered in Africa.
”Vaccine inequity has been an unfortunate feature of this pandemic and while efforts persist towards advocacy for increased sharing, for those who do have access to vaccines, we must not squander our opportunities,” Ihekweazu said.