Indian COVID-19: Variant As Loose Cannon

Indian COVID-19: Variant As Loose Cannon
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Nigeria has reported the Indian variant of the coronavirus, according to reports from local health authorities and World Health Organization, WHO, amid fears across the country that Nigeria  with its similarities to India, could end up as a worst case scenario in Africa, if urgent steps to address lapses are not taken.

Like India, Nigeria’s main cities are massively populated and, like the South Asian nation, Nigeria suffers poor access to coronavirus vaccines and is experiencing a huge health crisis. Across the nation, hospitals already face huge burdens as alarming numbers of cases of infectious diseases and common sicknesses like malaria and HIV/AIDS are coupled with lousy health infrastructure and low numbers of medical workers.

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Nigeria Medical Association, NMA submits that there are only 40,000 doctors in a country of around 200 million. Nigeria’s doctor-patient ratio is among the lowest in the developing world, with four physicians looking after 10,000 patients, a report by the WHO, which also revealed that the country has only five hospital beds for every 10,000 people, noted.

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“The country is nowhere near being equipped enough to deal with the same kind of situation we’ve seen in India,” Dr Collins Anyachi of the Department of Family Medicine, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital in southern Nigeria, told an international health magazine, TRT World. “If such an unfortunate situation befalls Nigeria, it’s health system would collapse in no time.”

Given recent statistics from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), 165,901 coronavirus infections and 2,067 deaths have been reported since the start of the pandemic, even as all these numbers are undervalued since testing has been very limited, and parts of the country — notably the northeast and northwest — are experiencing insurgent attacks that make any public health initiatives almost impossible to undertake. In the midst of this violence, the virus could be spreading without any official cognizance.

There are concerns elsewhere, particularly in the UK, where the highly contagious Indian variant of the coronavirus threatens to introduce a deadly third wave as the number of cases surges across the country.

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The number of confirmed cases of the mutation, which originated in India, has risen by 160% in a single week, Public Health England (PHE) said, adding 3,424 infections have been confirmed by the end of Thursday, May 20 up from 1,313 cases from the previous week.

“Cases are still predominantly affecting the north-west of England – particularly Bolton – and London, but we are seeing clusters of cases across the country.

“There is evidence that VOC-21APR-02 is growing rapidly and may be more transmissible than VOC-20DEC-01, the ‘Kent variant’ that is currently dominant in the UK,” PHE said in a statement.

The concerns over the Indian variant could spike cases in Nigeria and ravage through in an unprecedented manner is yet to assume any corresponding response locally from both the authorities and the citizenry. With the porosity of our borders and the lackluster attitude of many agencies responsible from tracking illegal entry, it is of concern that many individuals could stroll into the country without any form of screening.

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AljazirahNigeria is concerned that not a few Nigerians have become nonchalant to COVID-19 protocols across the country. With the devastation of the Indian variant raging relentlessly, it would produce unprecedented consequences if we are caught off guard by this new variant that is believed has found its way into our shores.

We are wary of the skepticism from many against the background of doubt and carelessness and quickly warn that any move short of re-validating existing protocols and enforcing such would be a national disservice that may spell un-parallel doom for a nation already overwhelmed on many fronts.

AljazirahNigeria is deeply perturbed by noticeable disdain and jettisoning of COVID-19 guidelines in so many public events and even transport systems across board. Utmost caution is required at this time again.

Aljazirahnews


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