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COVID-19: Kano testing laboratory reopens, commences tests – FG

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The Federal Government has announced that the COVID-19 test laboratory centre at Aminu Kano University Teaching Hospital,  Kano, has reopened after suspending operations on Monday and has commenced testing.

The centre was closed down following shortage of reagents, according to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who disclosed this at the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 pandemic, said a national response team made of of 16 people had been deployed to the state.
He assured that the state would continue to receive support from the Federal Government in the fight against Coronavirus.
Persecondnews recalls that Kano residents have expressed anxiety about a “strange ailment” that has killed many people, including prominent citizens in the past week.
Among those killed were a professor of Mass Communication, Bayero University, Kano, Murtala Balarabe Maikaba; Prof. Ibrahim Ayagi, owner of Hassan Gwarzo School; former Grand Khadi of Kano, Alhaji Dahiru Rabiu; and former Editor of Triumph, Mal Musa Tijjani.
Ihekweazu said: “I will like to remind everyone that during a pandemic, the risk of spread is to those areas where the population density is the highest. We are all aware of the population density in Kano, so Kano has always been very high on our radar.
“The high number of cases that we are now seeing in Kano is really not a surprise and we are very concerned about this and we are doing everything we can.
“Despite our strong commitment to quickly control the spread of the coronavirus, there is no magic bullet, if anyone has one I will be happy to get it.
“But as much as there has been this conversation, our role is to continue to work very hard on behalf of everyone, for the people of Kano and the people of state in the country.
“So what exactly are we doing? Firstly, is to mention that Kano has been one of the states we have had strongest relationship with at NCDC. There is no single state I have visited more often since I became the NCDC DG in 2016 than Kano. “
He added: “Just last week I visited Kano and met with the governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje and we had very fruitful discussion.
“We did everything possible to activate the Kano lab, but sometimes speed also has consequences. So we had to pause and shut the lab for the safety of workers at the lab.
“The Kano lab will go functional today. Everybody is working hard to get the lab working. We remain focused on our targets, which is to increase testing across the country.”
On the deaths of prominent people, the NCDC DG said:“We are also working hard to investigate the causes of the deaths in Kano.
“This is a time for leadership, solidarity and not the time to point fingers. We understand it is a marathon and not a sprint.”
PTF National Coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu promised that the federal government would ensure that  the issues were quickly resolved.
“A lot has been said about Kano, I just want to further add that we have been working very closely with our partners.
“Specifically the UN System and the US government to ensure that the whole aspect of the Kano response, particularly where we are having difficulties in terms of testing, in terms of access to patients, in terms of logistics, is sorted out.
“We are very grateful to our donors for coming together and making sure that we have a very coherent response.
“I will again emphasise the message to the people of Kano; they are not alone, the federal government will continue to take its responsibility seriously and we’ll continue to work with the state government and other stakeholders to ensure that the issue in Kano is sorted out as soon as possible,” he told reporters.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, said that the situation in Kano State was being addressed closely by the NCDC in strong partnership with the state government and guidance by the Federal Ministry of Health and  the development partners.
He noted that the nation was yet to be out of the woods in tackling the virus.
“The situation in Kano is being addressed very closely by the NCDC in strong partnership with the State government and guidance by the federal Ministry of health as well as support from our development partners,” he said.

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