Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The federal government has raised the alarm about the emergence of Brazil as the new global hotspot of coronavirus after latest figures have shown that the South American country is the second country with the highest cases of the disease in the world after the United States.
The Chairman of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha expressed this concern yesterday at the PTF press briefing in Abuja.
He said the significance of the Brazil case resided in the similarities between Africa and South America, which called for caution.
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, noted that the concern of Nigeria about the spike in COVID-19 cases in Brazil, which accounts for 419,000 confirmed cases of the world’s over 5.8 million cases and over 26,0000 deaths was because of the similarity in the weather between both countries.
Before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the attitude of many people leaving in tropical weather was that the risk of contracting coronavirus was low as the virus could not survive in hot conditions.
The PTF Chairman recalled that as January 13, when WHO formally declared COVID-19 a pandemic, there were just 7,818 infections globally.
Out of that number 7,736 was in China, while the remaining 82 cases were in 18 countries of the world . Nigeria did not have an index case until February 27. The pandemic has killed more than 356,722 people in about 251 countries.
‘’I think going forward as a people and a country, I created this significance of this shift and compared us with Brazil which has now become the epicentre in Southern America, a country that shares almost the same climatic environment with the continent of Africa.
‘’Often time you hear people say that this endemic would not thrive in tropical Africa but the similarities we share with countries like Brazil give a serious cause for concern as to our response as a people and as individuals .
‘’We are still not out of danger and we should not deceive ourselves; we have not peaked yet but there are more difficult days ahead. As government considers those balance between lives and livelihood, we will be informed by data, we will be informed by science and in taking into consideration the plight of the people of Nigeria.