A message circulating on WhatsApp in Nigeria claims the managing director of the private Reddington hospital in Lagos, southwestern Nigeria, has warned that Nigeria is experiencing a third wave of Covid-19.
The message, online since May 2021, also warns people who have received the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine not to be lulled “into a false sense of security”.“Please be aware that Covid is alive and well in Nigeria and we are experiencing what appears to be the beginning of a third wave,” it reads.
“The numbers of patients at our Covid Centre are increasing. We are also seeing Covid in-patients who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccination.”
But is this message really from the hospital, and is there evidence of a third Covid wave in Nigeria?
Reddington disowns message
On 20 May the hospital tweeted a response to the WhatsApp message. The hospital’s testing centres had “so FAR not seen cases that corroborate” the message, which “did not originate from Reddington Hospital”.
Disclaimer Notice#reddingtonhospital pic.twitter.com/bPxdjBMIql— Reddington Hospital (@ReddingtonLagos) May 20, 2021
The hospital urged people to disregard the WhatsApp message, but also to get vaccinated and observe Covid safety protocols.
In April, the presidential steering committee on Covid-19 (PSC) warned Nigerians to prepare for a third wave.
The PSC also advised the federal government to close international airports for at least two weeks.
In June the PSC was reported as saying Nigeria could not afford a third wave.
The World Health Organization has warned that many African countries are not ready for a third wave.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has not said the country is experiencing a third wave.
By 4 June, the total number of confirmed cases in Nigeria since Covid-19 reached the country was 166,730, with 2,117 deaths recorded.
The country has started giving the second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. According to Oxford University’s Our World In Data website some 2.2 million Nigerians have received at least one dose of the vaccine by 4 June.
About 40% of eligible Nigerians will be vaccinated in 2021 and another 30% in 2022, to reach 70% vaccine coverage, according to the PSC.
The committee has also said people should continue to observe all the existing Covid-19 guidelines and precautions.
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