The Federal Government says only 12 out of 36 states are conducting tests for COVID-19, accusing 24 other states of being negligent.
It noted that in spite of tremendous support from the government, Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID), World Bank and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and others, states were under testing for the virus.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Boss Mustapha, made the observation at Monday’s briefing of PTF in Abuja.
While calling on states to prioritize testing, the SGF stressed that, no state can complain of lacking in resources as all the national response had been targeted at supporting states to embark on massive testing to help flatten the curve.
The World Bank Board of Directors had in August approved a $114.28 financing to help Nigeria prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 with a specific focus on state level responses.
This included $100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.
The Federal Government had recently disclosed how much it spent so far in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, out of the public funds and donations by individuals and corporate organizations.
According to the government, it has spent N30,540,563,571.09 in four months to fight COVID-19, out of the N36.3 billion public funds and donations.
“As we commence the activities marking 60th Independence Anniversary of our nation, the PTF is ramping up the risk communication and community engagement.
“Testing will be escalated under a national testing week programme which the national coordinator will elaborate on,” Mustapha said.
On the need for more vigilance to keep safe, Mustapha said: “More specifically, the lesson for us in Nigeria, is that in spite of appreciable progress recorded, we should be vigilant more than ever before because we have opened our air spaces to international travels.
“We have relaxed a number of restrictions in opening up more sectors of the economy and schools are beginning to open in varying degrees.
“The call for greater vigilance is underscored by the fact that our economy has been seriously affected by the pandemic and we are pushing through our home-grown economic recovery strategies to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Also, our health systems, in-spite of its fragility, have been able to withstand and contain cases resulting from COVID-19 infection, where those of more advanced countries have been overwhelmed.
“This call is made more pertinent in view of the noticeably increasing disregard for basic non-pharmaceutical measures that have proven very successful. Face masks have now been turned into chin masks, social distancing and gatherings are returning to the pre-COVID era.”
Mustapha also commended the Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Healthcare Professionals (JOHESU) for suspending the industrial action called recently, urging the body to permanently call off the strike.
“Finally, I wish to underscore the need to overcome fatigue in this fight against the virus. We simply cannot afford it. This is the time to test more, detect more, isolate more and treat more.