Nigeria’s President has approved N6.45bn ($16.9m) plans to set up 38 oxygen plants in sites nationwide to help treat Covid-19 patients as oxygen usage surges in the country amid a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

A statement from Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s Office said President Muhammadu Buhari approved the release of the funds at a National Economic Council (NEC) meeting.

“The President approved the release of the funds for the production of oxygen, necessitated by the increased number of patients who need oxygen due to the surge in Covid-19 infections in the country,” the statement said.

A further N255m ($668,940) has been approved for repairs of oxygen plants in five hospitals, the statement added.

At the time of writing, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has reported 121,566 Covid-19 cases and 1,504 deaths.