Pantami’s directive pushes covid-19 infections to a new high; 11 die in one day
The recent policy by the minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, ordering all Nigerians to link their National Identification Number, NIN, to their SIM or risk being blocked by telecoms service providers may have pushed covid-19 infections to a new high.
Pantami had issued a deadline for Nigerians to get their NIN amid the covid-19 pandemic, knowing the risk involved and its direct consequence of spreading the covid-19 especially at a time a new strain had emerged.
Entreaties by concerned Nigerians had fallen on deaf ears with the minister standing his ground. A visit to the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, the body charged with registering and issuing Nigerians national identity cards complete with NIN and other embedded information, showed that most of the people failed to observe covid-19 protocols.
The directive runs counter to the advice daily issued by the Presidential Task Force on covid-19 containment for Nigerians to observe all the WHO covid-19 protocols which includes social distancing and wearing of facemasks.
Since the rush for NIN began, the number of infections have continued to climb. The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday reported 1,074 new infections. It also reported 11 additional new deaths in the past 24 hours in Nigeria.
Nigeria has so far tested 948,048 people since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced on Feb. 27, 2020.
The agency put the total number of COVID-19 infected people in the country at 88,587.
The NCDC said that 14 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) recorded the new infections.
It noted that in the past 24 hours, 660 recoveries were recorded in isolation centres across the country.
“Our discharges today include 459 community recoveries in Lagos State and 156 community recoveries in Katsina State, all managed in line with stipulated guidelines,” the NCDC stated.
The agency said that Lagos reported 642 cases of the new infections, followed by Kaduna with 92 cases, Rivers had 78 cases, while the FCT and Gombe reported 66 cases each and Kano 35.
Other states with new cases were Ogun-31, Katsina-22, Plateau-20, Abia-seven, Niger-four, Oyo-four, Akwa Ibom-three, Delta-two and Osun-two.
It said that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), activated at Level Three, is coordinating the national response activities.
Meanwhile, the NCDC noted that in 2020 the agency rose to the challenge of leading the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The centre said that while it understood the need for Nigerians to relax after a difficult year, it noted that COVID-19 “does not recognise the necessity for humans to celebrate’’.
It urged Nigerians to observe all the safety protocols by covering their mouth and nose properly with a tissue paper or their elbow when sneezing or coughing.