Coronavirus infections in Nigeria surged to the highest level in almost five months as a third wave of cases spreads in Africa’s most-populous nation.
The West African nation recorded 404 new cases on Tuesday, the highest number since March 4, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. More than 88% of the infections are in the commercial hub of Lagos, which said earlier that the increase signaled the start of a third wave.
Nigeria has more than 4,700 active Covid-19 cases, with 2,134 deaths. Only 1.3% of its more than 200 million inhabitants had received their first vaccine as of July 10. The country plans to secure additional vaccines using funds allocated in a supplementary budget of about $2.4 billion approved by President Muhammadu Buhari this week.
Central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday warned that the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a risk to the economic outlook for Africa’s biggest economy. 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.
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The economy is forecast to grow 3.15% this year, Nigeria’s monetary policy committee said in a statement.
There are “lingering uncertainties surrounding the path to the termination of the pandemic, as new and deadlier strains of the virus continue to pose a significant threat to the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines,” Emefiele said. “In addition, the uneven access to the vaccines across the globe is undermining the realization of the current forecast.”
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