Covid-19 Surge in Africa’s Biggest City as Doctors Strike
(Bloomberg) -- The governor of Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos said steps must be taken to curb rising coronavirus infections after a surge in deaths from the disease.
The city is recording six deaths a day and the positivity rate of those tested for the virus has risen eightfold to 8.9% over the past month, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a statement on Monday. The increase in infections coincided with a strike by doctors at the nation’s public-teaching hospitals to demand higher pay.
“The situation at hand should rightly alarm all of us,” the governor said. “This necessary sense of alarm should not be responded to with panic, but instead with firm resolve and determination to reverse the trend.”
Lagos, Africa’s largest city, is a sprawling metropolis of about 20 million people, most of whom live in cramped conditions where social distancing is difficult. While vaccines have been available since March, only 1% of the population has been inoculated, with 40% of those who obtained a first dose of AstraZeneca Plc’s shot failing to return for their second jab, Sanwo-Olu said.
Lagos will soon receive a “sizable allocation” of the Moderna vaccine from the federal government. The shots will be made available to those who haven’t received any vaccine yet, the governor said.
Nigeria has recorded 174,759 cases of coronavirus and 2,160 people have died from the disease, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Still, testing for the disease and accurate reporting of infections and deaths lags much of the world.
Central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele warned last week that the pandemic continues to pose a risk to the economic outlook for Africa’s biggest economy.
The Delta variant, first identified in the country early July is now spreading fast, accounting for 80% of the illness in Akwa Ibom, an oil producing state in the southern part of the country, Chike Ihekweazu, head of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said late Monday. This “means that transmission is likely to be a lot more intense,” Ihekweazu said.
“Cases of Delta variant are increasing in several states including Lagos and Akwa Ibom, as well as other states,” the NCDC said by email on Tuesday without saying if it’s now the dominant cause of the illness in the country.
Output in Nigeria contracted the most in almost four decades last year, World Bank data shows, with most businesses suffering significant disruptions due to Covid-19 restrictions.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.