As Nigeria marks 100 days of the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Government says it plans to set up at least one standard infectious disease laboratory in each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
With the first case of COVID-19 recorded on February 27, 2020 in Ogun State through an Italian, Nigeria now has 11, 162 cases, discharged cases 3, 329, deaths 315, Persecondnews reports.
The Chairman of Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said this on Saturday when he led his team to the National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja.
The laboratory is being managed by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
Mustapha said from three testing centre
when the country first recorded the index case, it can now boast of 30 testing centres.
In addition, multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC) led by NCDC was activated at Level 3 and is the highest level of response in the country for public health emergencies.
The confirmed case was managed at a designated treatment facility for COVID-19 at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH), Yaba, Lagos.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), deployed two Rapid Response Teams to Lagos and Ogun States respectively on 28th February.
Lagos and Ogun State EOCs began leading contact tracing and other response activities in respective states.
Global situation: As at 29th February 2020, a total of 85,403 confirmed cases reported (95.5% cases in China); 2,924 deaths; 49 countries affected; three countries affected in Africa: Egypt, Algeria and Nigeria.
Mustapha said COVID-19 had “profoundly changed” the world, uncovering crucial truths about the new virus and its spreads.
He said that the epidemilogical summary was that on February 27, a 44-year old Italian citizen was diagnosed of COVID-19 in Lagos State. The case is the first to be reported in Nigeria since the first confirmed case was reported from China in January 2020.
“The case arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 10pm on 24th February 2020 aboard Turkish airline from Milan, Italy.
“He traveled on to his company site in Ogun state on 25th February. On 26th February, he presented at the staff clinic in Ogun and there was high index of suspicion by the managing physician. He was referred to IDH Lagos and COVID-19 was confirmed on 27th February,” he recalled.
The SGF said the Federal Government initiated a PTF on COVID-19 to provide high-level strategic national response to the disease.
According to him, The Federal Ministry of Health has activated an NCDC-led national COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate the national public health response.
“At state-level, preparedness and response activities are being coordinated through Public Health EOCs in each State.”
Hecsaid the PTF visit was in recognition of the role the apex laboratory was playing in response to the pandemic.
Mustapha noted that the NCDC had continued to strengthen laboratory capacity nationwide and increasing access to testing was a major priority for Nigeria’s response to COVIID-19.
The SGF also noted that the virus had hit the economy globally and the health system of even the most powerful countries in the world have been impacted greatly.
“Before now, Nigeria only has about three testing labouratotries nation wide for testing of infectious diseases. Hundred days of COVID-19 in Nigeria, the country can now boast of having 30 testing centers.”
Hundreds days after the outbreak of the virus in the country, Mustapha said he was impressed by the level of response to the outbreak by the NCDC.
In his remarks, The Director-General of NCDC, lDr Chikwe Ihekweazu, promised that the centre would continue to work with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Medical Laboratory and Science Council of Nigeria and other partners to carry out laboratory-related research and validation as Nigeria scales up its testing capacity.
He said the national Reference laboratory is the apex public health reference labouratory of the country which has the mandate to coordinate the diagnosis of diseases of public health importance.
“Since the first confirmed case was reported one hundred days ago, several health workers have been at the forefront.
“We remain grateful to State Task Forces, Emergency Operations Centres, Rapid Response Teams, laboratory scientists and all health workers who continue to work very hard for national health security,” Ihekweazu stressed.
“Our strategy is to ensure more people are tested, contacts are traced early to prevent further spread and confirmed cases are treated.
“In the absence of a vaccine, Nigeria and the rest of the world must depend on public health, social measures and supportive management of confirmed cases,” he added.
Ihekweazu advised Nigerians to take individual and collective responsibility by adhering to public health regulations such as frequent hand washing, use of alcohol-based sanitisers, wearing of face mask in public places and observing physical distancing of at least two meters.