Nigeria on Sunday issued a COVID-19 pandemic red alert in major cities, including the capital Abuja, urging people to take extreme care amid rising infections in the virus’s third wave.

Boss Mustapha, a government secretary, said in a statement that Abuja, the commercial hub Lagos, and five other states could be affected by the third wave of coronavirus, especially its Delta variant.

“These steps are critical as we begin to see worrisome early signs of increasing cases in Nigeria,” he said.

He explained that the red alert was issued to raise public awareness of the pandemic and encourage people to take responsibility.

He warned state governments and religious leaders to be on the alert for the virus’s potential spread during this week’s Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.

People in Lagos, Oyo, Rivers, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau, and Abuja have been warned to be extra cautious and take steps to avoid infection, the statement said.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Sunday announced 123 new cases of coronavirus, putting the total confirmed cases at 169,329. It urged people to take responsibility, wear face masks in public spaces, and wash hands with soap regularly.

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