The Director-General of the Nigeria Center For Disease Control (NCDC) says so far, a total of 4,000 people have been tested for the COVID-19 in Nigeria.
He said this on Friday during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on the COVID-19 in Abuja, while stating that the agency is making all efforts to scale up the rate of testing in the country.
“To date, we have tested about 4,000 people and we’ll continue to drive up this number,” Ihekweazu stated.
To this effect, he noted that one more laboratory has been opened in the country, bringing the total to eight.
“Currently, we have added one more lab this morning over the last few days so we now have eight.
“The reason is that three labs are working independently in Lagos (the Lagos University Teaching Hospital), the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research and now the Bio-Security Center in Lagos that use to work with LUTH in collaboration, have now completely separated so we have now three labs working independently in Lagos, giving us a total of eight.
“Like I said yesterday, Ibadan and Abakaliki have recently been activated.
“Today, we’re activating another lab in Abuja, the defence reference lab not only to support the armed forces but everyone around that area,” he said.
“The next town that we’d be going to is Kano. Between Sunday and Monday, we hope to activate Kano and from there, start a series of labs in the northern part of Nigeria to ensure that everyone has access to a lab closest to his or her location”.
The NCDC boss, however, noted that while there is a need for the speed of the testing process, it has to be done safely to ensure the authenticity of results.
He also urged Nigerians to be patient as the officials make work through the process.
“Another thing we are doing is to work with both the TB programme and the HIV programme to convert some of the technology that they are using for TB and HIV for testing for COVID-19,” Ihekweazu said.