As schools and businesses begin to reopen in Nigeria, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on Tuesday, said the government feared a likely surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

He said this in Abuja at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

Ehanire, represented by the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, said: “As business and schools begin to open and as travels begin to pick up, we fear that we may have a surge in the number of cases unless we scale up surveillance and review our response plan to integrate new ways to deal with the disease”.

He said a total of 58,460 confirmed cases had been recorded as of Tuesday with 1,111 deaths and 49,895 discharged, noting that this result was from a total of 509,555 persons tested for COVID-19.

“We currently have 7,454 active cases which are being managed at home or are in treatment centres with about half of them in Lagos State.”

Mamora said the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research had developed a molecular test for COVID-19 that could give results in less than 40 minutes.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said Nigeria’s cases of the virus were dropping compared on month-to-month basis.

He noted that the NCDC had issued an advisory on the consequences of not testing enough, urging the states to increase the rate of testing.

He said Nigeria would benefit from the 120 million effective rapid test tools rolled out by the World Health Organisation, capable of providing reliable results in 30 minutes.