The Federal Government on Thursday said unless those who had contact with confirmed cases of coronavirus came forward, in few days ahead, Nigeria would record a rapid increase in the number of cases.

The FG also said it was tracing 4,370 persons, who came into contact with people that were suffering from COVID-19.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, said the country was on the verge of community transmission of the disease.

Mohammed said this just as coronavirus cases in the country increased to 65 on Thursday.

The minister said, “We have 4,370 people of interest whom we are tracing. We urge those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities. We urge Nigerians to support the authorities in this regard.

“We are on the verge of reaching the level of community spread. We must stop this immediately or we will record exponential cases in the days ahead. There is no better way to say this.

“I don’t intend to sound apocalyptic. But the truth is that time is running out. If we don’t urgently and more aggressively enforce the measures I have just listed, we have a short window within which to stop this pandemic or face an explosion in terms of the cases. We cannot afford to be complacent.”

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said as of 7:35pm on Thursday, 12 additional cases had been recorded in Lagos State, one in Bauchi State and one in the Federal Capital Territory.

The NCDC via its Twitter handle, said, “14 new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Nigeria; one in Bauchi State, one in the FCT and 12 in Lagos. Of the 14, six were detected on a vessel, three are returning travellers into Nigeria and two are close contacts of confirmed cases. As of 7:35pm 26th March, there are 65 confirmed cases, three discharged and one dead.”

The NCDC had on Thursday said cases of the virus in the country increased to 51 from 46 on Wednesday.

Currently, the majority of cases were imported to the country from high-risk nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom and other European countries.

Among those who have tested positive are the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed.

The disease has spread to eight states and the Federal Capital Territory. There are 44 cases in Lagos; 12 in the Federal Capital Territory; Ogun State, three; Ekiti State, one; Bauchi State, two; Oyo State, one; Edo State, one; Osun State, one and Rivers State, one.