The alert allows authorities to restrict celebrations and gatherings as the country celebrates Eid-el-Kabir this week.
Nigeria, just like most parts of the African continent, is facing the third wave of COVID-19 after detecting the more transmissible Delta variant. Boss Mustapha, the head of the country’s presidential steering committee on COVID-19, said Lagos, Oyo, Rivers, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory had been placed on red alert as part of preventive measures against the pandemic. The committee noted there was potential for a broader spread of the virus during the Eid-el-Kabir gatherings due to take place this week. The red alert status allows the authorities to restrict celebrations and gatherings throughout these states to a minimum, a necessary measure as the country begins to see a sharp spike in infections across some of its key regions.
Mustapha stated that Friday prayers should be held outside local mosques and Eid prayers should not exceed one hour. He also called for the suspension of all Durbar activities; an annual Muslim festival celebrated in northern Nigeria. Lagos, the country’s commercial capital, has been the epicentre of Nigeria's outbreak since the start of the pandemic. As of yesterday 18 July 2021, Nigeria recorded 169,532 official cases and 2,127 deaths per data from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The country started vaccinating its population in March this year and has so far inoculated about four million of its people. It expects to receive nearly eight million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines next month, inclusive of donations from the US government.