Nigeria has announced 594 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 22,614.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced this on Thursday through its official Twitter handle.
NCDC said that the 594 new confirmed cases were from 22 states, with seven deaths as of Thursday.
The health agency said that no new state reported a case in the last 24 hours.
The NCDC said that Lagos reported the highest number of cases with 154 new cases while Delta was second with 106.
Others were Ondo-44, FCT-34, Edo-34, Oyo-33, Kaduna-33, Enugu-28, Katsina-25, Imo-22, Adamawa-15, Ogun-12, Osun-11, Abia-8, Rivers-6, Nasarawa-5, Bauchi-5, Niger-5, Kebbi-4, Ekiti-3,Plateau-1 and Taraba-1
The NCDC also said that till date, 22,614 cases had been confirmed, 14, 243 cases active, 7,822 cases treated and discharged, 122,155 samples collected while 549 deaths were recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
NCDC said in the absence of a vaccine to prevent COVID19, Nigerians must focus on non-pharmaceutical interventions such as using face masks, physical distancing and frequent hand washing.
The health agency said that loss of taste and smell was a symptom of COVID19, and could also be for some other illnesses.
“It is important to get tested rather than self-medicate on the assumption that it is malaria,” it said.
NCDC also said that while cloth masks were convenient substitutes for medical masks they should not be worn by individuals who were at a high risk of complications.
The health agency further said that face shields were not sufficient to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and should, therefore, be used in addition to face masks.
It observed that there had been an increased use of face shields by Nigerians, adding they were not to be used in place of facemasks.
The agency also clarified that the loss of smell or taste had been recognised globally as symptoms of COVID-19.
It noted that though there were few other diseases that would cause these symptoms, it was most likely that it was linked with an increased incidence of COVID-19.
The NCDC urged citizens to adhere to public health measures and recognise the need to pay close attention to the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions as they were most vulnerable.
On private sector partnerships to ramp up testing, the agency said a lot of private sector laboratories had indicated interest and were playing a role already.
It added that Lagos had the highest number of private laboratories.
The NCDC, however, acknowledged that the process of accreditation was complicated and cumbersome for private sector operators, adding it was working with states to ramp up sample collection identified as a major challenge.
The agency also urged Nigerians to hold the NCDC and state governments responsible.
“We have provided testing infrastructure; by the end of tomorrow, we will roll out GeneXperts to seven states. Access to testing is no longer our challenge, but collecting samples,” it said.
The NCDC pointed out that testing was not the final solution, but an entry point to clinical care and public health management.