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Nigeria says committing more funds to COVID-19 fight as tally exceeds 20,000
From:Xinhua  |  2020-06-22 18:47

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ABUJA, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The Nigerian government on Sunday said it has so far intervened in the fight against COVID-19 with funds up to the tune of 58 million U.S. dollars, as the country continues to see a surge in the number of cases.

The total number of cases in the most populous African country stood at 20,244, as the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 436 new cases late Sunday.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva told reporters in the southeastern state of Imo that a whopping sum of 58 million U.S. dollars had been committed by the government in the fight against the pandemic.

Some 23 percent of that amount was earmarked for the construction of new medical infrastructure across the six geo-political zones of the country.

Sylva said more actions will be taken to ensure national healthcare delivery as the fight against the pandemic gets tougher.

The government will also continue to strengthen the national resolve to combating the dreadful impact of the pandemic, he said further.

"We discovered key kinetic areas - provision of medical consumables, employment of logistics and in-patient support system, and delivery of medical infrastructure," the minister said.

The government is not just committing funds to the fight against the pandemic. It has also introduced a number of measures to control the spread.

Despite demonstrating a good fight against the pandemic, however, the Nigerian government has continued to express worry by the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Although the testing rate in the country has almost tripled with over 113,000 samples tested, compared to less than 42,000 samples tested one month before, the number of new COVID-19 cases has also increased by more than 200 percent within the same period - between May 21 and June 21, the country has moved from 7,016 to more than 20,000 COVID-19 infections, according to local media.

This recent upward surge recorded in the country was expected considering the relaxation of the mandatory lockdowns and other measures put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic, Chikwe Ihekweazu, the head of the NCDC said recently.

Going by the prevailing situation, the country has continued to increase testing capacities and curbing the spread with a raft of measures.

On June 18, ahead of the reopening of the local airports, the Nigerian senate said the plan remained "unrealistic" for now as issues about curbing the spread of the pandemic continue to worry the government.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari told an Africa-China summit held via video link on June 17 that the country would support and join any collective action plan at regional and global levels to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout.

"The fight against a global pandemic, which continues to take so many lives, threaten livelihoods and challenge the very fabric of societies, requires enhanced cooperation and worldwide solidarity," Buhari said.