The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported 938 new infections of COVID-19 Thursday.
In a Twitter update via its verified handle, the government agency said there are now 143,516 confirmed cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus in Nigeria.
A total of 118,012 people it stated, have so far been discharged from hospital, while the number of deaths so far is 1,710.
As of Thursday, more than 107.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 60.1 million of those cases listed as recovered or resolved in a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.3 million.
CBC reported that the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director said African countries that have not found cases of the coronavirus variant dominant in South Africa should go ahead and use the AstraZeneca vaccine.
John Nkengasong spoke to reporters a day after South Africa announced major changes to its vaccination rollout plan, citing a small study that suggested it was poor at preventing mild to moderate disease caused by the variant.
Nkengasong said just seven countries on the 54-nation African continent have reported the variant and none besides South Africa is being “overwhelmed” by the variant. None has expressed concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine except for South Africa. Africa has had more than 96,000 confirmed deaths.
Pfizer, meanwhile, said it could deliver its vaccine, which requires ultra-cold temperatures for storage and distribution, directly to points of vaccination in South Africa.
Angela Merkel has called for Germans to be “extremely cautious” and warned of the “dangers” of variants. Lawmakers are hoping to avoid the health system being overrun by new COVID-19 mutations.
According to DW, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke in the Bundestag on Thursday to defend the extension of the nationwide lockdown until March 7.
That is even as the World Health Organization (WHO) African region has backed the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 even in countries reporting variants of the disease.
According to a CNN report, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said at a news briefing Thursday, “While a vaccine that protects against all forms of Covid-19 illness is our biggest hope, preventing severe cases and hospitalizations which overwhelm hospitals and health systems is crucial”.
The second wave of COVID-19 in Africa, which peaked in January, was more deadly than the first wave, according to Dr. Moeti. She noted “deaths have increased by 40% in the last 28 days compared to the previous 28 days.”