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NCDC to governors: Prioritise COVID-19 tests in 85 LGAs not yet covered 

According to DG, Coronavirus is not something to be ashamed of as some top government officials had tested positive for the virus and had recovered.

State governors have been urged to prioritise COVID-19 tests in the 85 Local Government Areas in 20 states left out of testing for the virus and which have yet to report any case.

The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, made the passionate appeal on Thursday at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

“On Monday we talked about 85 local government where we did not collect samples at all, we never tested but if we have sample collection sites in this local governments, they will be able to test or collect samples and they will test.

“So we want to appeal to our states to prioritize testing and want Nigerians also to come forward for testing.

“We know sometimes we look at stigmatization, people say they don’t want to go to the testing sites because they will be stigmatized,” he said.

According to DG, Coronavirus is not something to be ashamed of as some top government officials had tested positive for the virus and had recovered.
“There is an example among us, it can happen to anybody. So please let us come out and be tested.”
Ihekweazu, who was represented by Mrs Elsie Ilori, the Head of Department, Surveillance and Epidemiology Department, at the centre, said five states still account for 60 per cent of cumulative cases, while 689 out of 774 LGAs have reported a case and 50 per cent of all cases are in 20 per cent LGAs.

“Today’s focus is on sample collection. Since the beginning of the response our strategy has been trace, test, isolate and treat.

“It is only by doing this that we are able to know the burden of COVID-19 in the country. And so with a country as populated as ours, it’s not been easy, but we have to continue to push.

“In line with our national strategy we have rapidly called up our laboratory testing capacity Nationwide. As at today, we have 63 laboratories that are testing for COVID in the country.

“We have leveraged on the existing laboratories in the country including other programs, other diseases laboratories and private laboratories to set of this laboratories.

“In addition to accessibility and improving the turnaround time of our result, our aim is to expand our national testing capacity which we have achieved,” the NCDC DG said.

He added: “We have also supported states to set of sample collection sites.
However, our current situation is that testing labs are underutilized and that is because you are not collecting enough samples for the labs to test.

“I think it was mentioned earlier that since the Sallah break, some of our confirmed cases have been very low compared to what we have been having before but this is not because the numbers are getting  low but because we’re not collecting enough samples.

“If you notice, the number of samples collected during Salah was very low and we believe it was because of the festival season some labs even went on break, it should not have been.

“So we are working with the states to quickly address this so that we do not have this kind of situation again.

“Now what do we want? We want every local government to have a sample collection sites in the country.

“We started the pilots in FCT where we have various sample collection sites within the FCT and that’s what we want to expand to other states and let’s have sample collection sites in each local government in the country and that will help us to be able to collect enough samples and all the local government will be covered.”

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Written by Per Second News

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