Covid-19 Cases Surge in Africa’s Biggest City as Doctors Strike

The governor of Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos said steps must be taken to curb rising coronavirus infections after an alarming increase in deaths from the disease.

The city is recording six deaths a day and the positivity rate of those tested for the virus has risen eightfold to 8.9% over the past month, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a statement on Monday. The increase in infections coincided with a strike by doctors at the nation’s public-teaching hospitals to demand higher pay.

“The situation at hand should rightly alarm all of us,” the governor said. “This necessary sense of alarm should not be responded to with panic, but instead with firm resolve and determination to reverse the trend.”

Lagos, Africa’s largest city, is a sprawling metropolis of about 20 million people, most of whom live in cramped conditions where social distancing is difficult. While vaccines have been available since March, only 1% of the population has been inoculated, with 40% of those who obtained a first dose of AstraZeneca’s shot failing to return for their second jab, Sanwo-Olu said.


Lagos will soon receive a “sizeable allocation” of the Moderna vaccine from the federal government. The shots will be made available to those who haven’t received any vaccine yet, the governor said.

Nigeria has recorded 174,759 cases of coronavirus and 2,160 people have died from the disease, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele warned last week that the pandemic continues to pose a risk to the economic outlook for Africa’s biggest economy.

Output in Nigeria contracted the most in almost four decades last year, World Bank data shows, with most businesses suffering significant disruptions due to Covid-19 restrictions.