The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 is excited about the roll-out of 120 million rapid testing kits by the World Health Organization and other partners that can test those infected by coronavirus and produce the result in 30 minutes.
The PTF has also asked Nigerians to brace up for a National Testing Week as part of activities to mark the country’s 60th independence anniversary to ramp up case detection for the virus.
The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, said at Tuesday’s media briefing in Abuja that the partnership being driven by WHO on the hi-tech testing kit would facilitate mass test for the virus.
“Developments with testing around the world have been very encouraging as technology improves. We were pleased to receive the news of the partnership driven by the WHO to roll out 120 million effective rapid test tools capable of providing reliable results in 30 minutes rather than hours. It will help to reach distant communities where laboratories are not located and will help in cutting down the response time that medical personnel need to commence treatment.
“Nigeria continues to partner with the WHO and shall certainly be part of the early beneficiaries of the rollout when it commences. Nigeria is also contributing to the global effort in the diagnosis of COVID-19 through our Research Institutes led by the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research. The PTF will be updating you as we progress,’’ he said.
Mustapha said it is only through tests that the virus could be detected, traced patient isolated and treated for COVID-19 and urged state governments as partners in the fight against COVID-19 to increase the rate of testing for the virus.
He also appealed to religious, socio-cultural and traditional institutions to insist on observing COVID-19 protocols especially at community level.
“As you are already aware, Nigeria is celebrating the 60th anniversary of our Independence and the PTF has already announced to you that testing will be ramped up through the national testing Week.
“I urge everyone to brace up for the programme and mobilise members of the community as well. Testing is the only way to detect, isolate, trace and treat.
“The NCDC has already issued an advisory on the consequences of not testing enough. The numbers are dropping when we compare on month-to-month basis but we still have to be vigilant.
“Health is a shared responsibility on the concurrent list and as partners in the fight against COVID-19, we urge sub-national entities to thread on the side of caution by increasing the rate of testing. We desire the support of institutions (religious, socio-cultural, traditional, etc) to insist on in-depth engagement at community levels, especially in observing the protocols,’’ the federal government scribe said.
Mustapha said the taskforce was sad to note that the global community just crossed an unenviable milestone when COVID-19 related fatalities surpassed the one million mark.
“It has taken only eight months for over 33 million persons to be infected and one million fatalities to be recorded in almost all countries and territories of the world. These numbers underscore the seriousness of the pandemic and should help to determine how not to lower our guard.
“Let me remind all Nigerians that like our diamond anniversary celebration, the COVID-19 has made year 2020 a most significant year for us in Nigeria. We need to do all we can to survive it and we have the solutions in our hands. Let us take responsibility,’’ he said.