COVID-19 EPIDEMIC OVERVIEW AND VACCINATION PROGRAM
Across Nigeria cases of COVID-19 declined by 25% in May to 1,596 and with testing increasing by 54.7% this would indicate a real drop in caseload. In the BAY states however, there was a slight uptick to 121 new cases up from 99 in April. 1.78 million people have now received the first dose of vaccine, 94.8% of the target group for the first phase. In the BAY states 97% of the target population had received their first vaccination, roughly in line with the national rollout.
Overall, Nigeria has so far avoided a third phase of the virus, although testing is still low despite the recent increase and vaccination coverage is only around 1% of the total population. The situation in the BAY states appears stable, but the fact that no new cases were identified in Borno state indicates there may be some issue with testing or reporting there. With overcrowded camps, poor hygiene and sanitation and population displacements there is a risk of any COVID-19 outbreak spreading rapidly.
COVID-19 CONTAINMENT MEASURES AND COMMUNICATIONS
The guidelines for COVID-19 released in April are still in effect. These measures require public mandatory use of facemask, physical distancing, avoidance of public gathering and non-essential travel in addition to gatherings for worship or weddings to be held at 50% capacity, closure of bars, nightclubs, pubs, event centres as well as recreational venues throughout the country and indoor sports facilities to remain closed. A nationwide curfew remains in place from 12 midnight till 4am, and civil servants on Grade level 12 and below continue to stay at home while the country rolls out a nationwide vaccination campaign.
The government sanctioned 90 travelers arriving in Nigeria from Brazil, India, and Turkey for evading the mandatory 7-day quarantine and declared 108 arriving passengers from Brazil, Turkey, UAE and India, Persons of Interest (POI) for violating COVID-19 quarantine protocol.
Nigeria government also launched a campaign dubbed ‘“Powerful H.A.N.D.S” to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and launched a toll-free 24-hour mental health helpline for people to cope with the pandemic. A strategic communication initiative in the BAY states to counter misinformation of COVID-19 was put in place.
SECURITY AND HUMANITARIAN ACCESS
Nigeria is facing a significant upsurge in violence and violent crime. Conflict between herder and pastoralist communities has broken out in several states and the northwest region has also seen attacks on schools resulting in the kidnapping of hundreds of school children. In addition, separatist movements in both the southeast and southwest have been active. This all puts increased pressure on Nigeria’s security forces whilst at the same time fighting has escalated in the northeast.
The most recent NSAG attacks have been in Yobe state leading to the displacement of over 150,000 people, added to continued conflict in Dikwa LGA, Borno. The escalation in conflict has resulted in more limited access to these communities with security challenges impeding humanitarian operations in critical locations such as Dikwa and Monguno LGAs of Borno state as well as constraining access to populations on the move such as those displaced populations from Yobe State. Transport of humanitarian aid by aid has also been constrained due to security fears.
The upcoming rainy season usually reduces the ability of NSAGs to implement attacks, but it will also make travelling by road more difficult, putting further pressure on the humanitarian supply chain.