ABUJA, 4 May 2021 – Public health experts in Nigeria have warned that Africa’s most populous nation could be hit by a third wave of the new coronavirus.

Government officials in the capital, Abuja, say they are afraid of a scenario similar to the crisis unfolding in India unless Nigerians stop acting as if the COVID-19 pandemic is already in their rearview mirror.

Dr John Nkengasong on Twitter

Dr John Nkengasong on Twitter

Women Return from Doing Groceries in Nigeria - Photo Telegraph UK

Women Return from Doing Groceries in Nigeria – Photo Telegraph UK

The calamitous COVID-19 outbreak in India is a wake-up call for Africa and a stern warning that African governments and citizens must not let their guard down, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) warned over the weekend.

Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, is in the image of the rest of the continent.

It lacks healthcare workers, hospital beds, intensive care units, and the oxygen supplies it would need if the continent’s 1.3 billion inhabitants (exactly the same population as India) were to be as overwhelmed as India has been, warned Dr. John Nkengasong, who heads Africa CDC.

Calls for Mass Vaccination in Nigeria - YouTube ScreenGrab

Calls for Mass Vaccination in Nigeria – YouTube ScreenGrab

Every Day Settings Make Social Distancing Impossible in Nigeria - Photo The Guardian Nigeria

Near Impossible to Social Distance in Nigeria – Photo The Guardian Nigeria

The situation in India has set off alarm bells across Africa, especially in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s international airports should be shut down as part of a stricter lockdown to allow the government a chance to tackle the virus, according to one of the many alarmist recommendations by the Academy of Medicine Specialities and its Rapid Response initiative group.

Airport closures would last at least two weeks, the groups have argued, and while it cannot stop the spread of the disease, it will sensitize people about the gravity of the hour, the organizations told reporters.

Abuja admits it has not yet secured enough vaccine doses to vaccinate the 109 million inhabitants it projected it would like to vaccinate over the next two years.

A Typical Street in Nigeria is a Billboard that Reads Social Distance If You Can - Photo CNN

A Typical Street in Nigeria’s Big Cities is a Billboard that Reads “Social Distance If You Can” – Photo CNN

Over one million people have been vaccinated in Nigeria – a drop in the bucket for a country of over 220 million inhabitants.

So far, Nigeria has confirmed more than 165,000 cases of COVID-19, with 2,063 fatalities and over 155,000 full recoveries, according to data from the COVID-19 tracker.

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