FG plans isolation centres at borders, 4,000 test daily (Read Details)

The Federal Government, as part of efforts to take advantage of two-week lockdown extension ordered by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, aims to conduct 4,000 COVID-19 tests every day. The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, who disclosed this on Tuesday during a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, said 2,000 tests would be conducted in Lagos, 1,000 in Abuja and 1,000 in other parts of the country.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said isolation centres would be established at the country’s land borders. Buhari had on Monday extended the 14 days lockdown he ordered in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states on March 29 by another two weeks.

The NCDC director general on Tuesday recalled that the President, in his speech on Monday, said the public health response to COVID-19 was dependent on ability to detect, test and admit cases as well as trace all contacts. Ihekweazu said Nigeria had increased its laboratories for testing COVID-19 to 12, adding that the government would ensure every state had a lab.

Sample collection, now our challenge – NCDC DG

He stated, “We have achieved this largely by leveraging on the existing molecular laboratory capacity within our network across the country. We now have the capacity to test 1,500 people per day. The challenge right now is not  laboratories’ testing capacity, but how active our public health workforce is in collecting samples from identified suspected cases and sending them to the laboratories for testing.”

“We have sufficient testing capacity of 1,500 per day,  but we are not close to exhausting it every day. From today, we have to push harder. Our target following the President speech is to get to testing 2,000 per day in Lagos, 1,000 in Abuja and 1,000 for the rest of the country. This is the target we have agreed.”

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