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Nigeria approves release of $16.9 mln to set up oxygen plants amid COVID-19 surge

CoronavirusJan 21, 2021 21:42
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ABUJA, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Nigeria's president has approved
the release of 6.45 billion naira ($16.94 million) to set up
oxygen production plants in 38 sites to help treat COVID-19
patients as authorities contend with a sharp rise in cases, the
government said on Thursday.
Africa's most-populous country, where officials recorded low
coronavirus numbers through much of last year, is in the grip of
a second wave of infections.
The presidency said the release of funds to address the
provision of oxygen was announced at a meeting of the National
Economic Council (NEC) advisory body.
"President Muhammadu Buhari has approved 6.45 billion naira
for the setting up of gas plants in 38 locations nationwide in a
bid to enhance the treatment of Covid-19 patients who need
oxygen," said a statement issued by the vice president's office.
The release of funds for the production of oxygen was
"necessitated by the increased number of patients who need
oxygen due to the surge in Covid-19 infections in the country",
the statement said.
It said a further 255 million naira ($670,000) had been
approved for repairs of oxygen plants in five hospitals.
Earlier this week, the state government in Lagos, the
epicentre of Nigeria's outbreak, said demand for oxygen at one
of its main hospitals had increased fivefold in recent weeks to
350 6-litre cylinders a day. It said that was expected to more
than double to 750 by the end of January.
Nigeria has recorded 114,691 COVID-19 cases and 1,478
deaths, as of Thursday.
While wealthier countries have begun mass vaccination
campaigns, African countries are scrambling to secure supplies.
Nigeria's state governors issued a statement on Thursday in
which they said the country's first vaccine doses were expected
to arrive by the end of February.
Authorities previously said the first doses, under the COVAX
programme backed by the World Health Organization to secure fair
access to COVID-19 vaccines for poor countries, were expected by
the end of January.

($1 = 380.7000 naira)

Nigeria approves release of $16.9 mln to set up oxygen plants amid COVID-19 surge
 

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