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Nigeria: New virus strain taking toll on health workers

Health workers facing greater risk as infected patients coming to hospitals unaware of COVID-19 status, says official

Olarewaju Kola   | 02.02.2021
Nigeria: New virus strain taking toll on health workers

LAGOS, Nigeria

Over the past week, 75 Nigerian health workers have tested positive for the new coronavirus strain detected in the country, an official said late on Monday.

Many patients visiting hospitals were found to be unaware of their COVID-19 status, making healthcare workers particularly susceptible to infections, according to Chikwe Ihekweazu, head of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Addressing a news conference in the capital Abuja, he urged health workers to be extremely responsible for their personal protection.

With the new strain causing a surge in infections over the past month, Ihekweazu said authorities are working to boost testing in Nigeria and will provide more rapid diagnostic test kits to medical facilities across the country.

The Nigerian government aims to vaccinate 70% of the country’s over 200 million population by the end of the year, another official said on Tuesday, according to local media reports.

The statement was made by Boss Mustapha, who is heading Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

He said the government will also make coronavirus tests mandatory for citizens traveling out of the country.

The NCDC update on Tuesday showed 676 more infections and 21 fatalities were recorded in Nigeria over the past day, raising the total to 131,918, including 1,607 deaths and 106,275 recoveries.

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