One in five persons tested for COVID-19 in Nigeria is positive, according to official data. Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) compiled here show that the country’s positive rate jumped from 4.2% to 21.3% in the last month. As of December 3, only 4.2% of all coronavirus tests — or roughly one in 25 samples — in Nigeria returned positive. But as the second wave sweeps across the country, so is the number of positive cases rising. The WHO data show that the positive rate stood at 21.3% as of January 3, a steep rise in the number of positive diagnoses. When a country’s positivity rate for the coronavirus is high, experts believe this indicates how widespread the virus is in the community. It could also mean that the number of total tests being carried out is too low. According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, “a higher positive percentage suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with coronavirus in the community who haven’t been tested yet. Nigeria has had a chronic testing problem since the pandemic, with less than one million tests carried out so far, unlike South Africa that has tested over 6.7 million samples. Data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) situation reports show the country’s testing capacity still hovers between 35,000 and 45,000 weekly. In a similar development, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 said on Tuesday at least 731 members of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) Batch B had tested positive for COVID-19. This compares to 108 positive test results during the Batch A exercise. Nigeria hopes to get 42 million COVID-19 vaccines to cover one-fifth of its population through the global COVAX scheme, Faisal Shuaib, head of the country’s primary healthcare agency said on Tuesday.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved an increase in electricity tariffs to ₦4 per kWh. According to a directive issued on December 31, 2020, and signed by Sanusi Garba, NERC chairman, the new tariff will take effect from 1 January. The commission stated that the new tariff will be enforced until the issuance of another minor review order or an extraordinary tariff review order by the commission. The NERC said some of the indices considered for the upward review include Nigeria’s inflation rate, exchange rate, US rate of inflation, available generation capacity, gas price, MDA losses and CAPEX adjustment. “The year 2020 projection on available generation is maintained for the first half (Jan-Jun) of 2021 to account for the impact of the delay in the implementation of MYTO-2020. No change was applied to generation projections from July 2021 and beyond,@ the statement read in part. “A benchmark gas price of $2.50/MMBTU, gas transportation cost of $0.80/MMBTU and gas prices outside the regulated rates for GenCos with effective gas sale agreements (“GSAs”) were maintained.” In a clarifying note on 5 January, the regulator said that tariffs for customers on Service Bands D and E (customers being served less than an average of 12 hours of supply per day for a period of one month) remained frozen and subsidised by the FG.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange recorded its first loss of the year Tuesday as selling pressure on some of the most capitalised stocks on the bourse eroded the market value of equities by ₦392.816 billion. Bellwether stocks like MTN Nigeria, GTBank, BUA Cement, Zenith Bank and Okomu Oil accounted for the bulk of the loss. A decline of 2.98% in the Banking Index, the day’s worst performer of the 5 sectorial indices, also drove losses. Trade ended with 34 losers emerging against 16 gainers. The All Share Index (ASI) fell by 1.83% to end the session at 25,987.14 basis points, while market capitalisation dipped to ₦21.122 trillion. The world’s best-performing stock market in 2020 is up by a marginal 0.31% in 2021.

At least 20 people have been killed in an airstrike on a village in central Mali where Islamic extremists had confronted a wedding party, the Associated Press reports, citing witnesses. The French military, which carries out operations against jihadist rebels operating in the region, declined to comment on the reported deaths and there was no immediate comment from the Malian government. A man wounded in the strike told The Associated Press that the extremists had approached a group of civilians celebrating a wedding on Sunday, demanding that the men in attendance separate from the women. “We were in the process of carrying out the orders when I heard the sound of an airplane and immediately a strike from above. Afterwards, I didn’t see anything because I was unconscious,” the man said from a health centre in Douentza, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. Hamadoun Dicko, leader of one of the largest ethnic Peuhl organizations in Mali, said witnesses described two air raids on Jan. 3 in the village of Bouti. “There were at least 20 dead and more than 27 missing. I have personally lost two friends,” said Dicko, president of the Tabital Pulaaku Youth Association. Guillaume Nguefa, head of the human rights section of the U.N. mission in Mali confirmed the incident but did not provide more details.