Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama on Sunday revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the latest top politician to be infected, reported Reuters. He is the first member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet to be infected by the novel coronavirus. Back in April, Buhari’s former chief of staff, Abba Kyari, died due to the deadly virus.
The 64-year-old Onyeama took to Twitter to confirm that he went for a COVID-19 test for the fourth time due to throat irritation. He said he was going into isolation in a health facility.
“Did my fourth Covid-19 test yesterday at the first sign of a throat irritation and unfortunately this time it came back positive,” the Nigerian Foreign Minister tweeted. “Heading for isolation in a health facility and praying for the best.”
President Buhari’s cabinet members have been conducting regular virtual executive council meetings as part of measures to keep the government working while practicing social distancing rules.
The Nigerian government began easing the lockdown in May after implementing measures to slow the spread of the virus.
Coronavirus cases in the country have reached 36,663 mark, according to official statistics. The total number of deaths recorded in the West African nation has increased to 778, according to figures late Sunday from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
More than 15,105 people have recovered from the virus in Nigeria. Nigerian commercial capital Lagos, Abuja, and Oyo are among the most hardest-hit states with the most number of coronavirus infections.
Nigeria, with a population of of 200 million people, is struggling to combat the pandemic due to its poor healthcare care system.
The novel coronavirus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions since first appearing in China last December,. The US, Brazil, India and Russia are currently the countries hardest hit in the world.
The pandemic has killed more than 602,000 people worldwide, with almost 14.3 million confirmed cases, according to figures compiled by US’ Johns Hopkins University. Over 8 million people have recovered from the disease.