THE Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chike Ihekweazu, said the reopening of schools and airports would lead to an upsurge in COVID-19 transmission.
The DG on Monday during a media briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, said out of the 36 states, only Lagos, Federal Capital Territory, Ogun and Kano states had been consistently carrying out a high volume of testing.
Ihekweazu pointed out that testing rates had reduced in Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa and Yobe states.
“I am very confident about what is going on in Lagos, FCT, Ogun and probably Kano and a few other states. Having said that, it doesn’t mean they should let down their guards completely,” he said.
“In fact, with schools and airports opening, we have to increase the level of our testing because inevitably, there would be more transmission. So, how are you able to mitigate the impact of that moving forward, given that we have learnt so much about this virus in the last few months.”
The National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, said in terms of testing, Nigeria’s performance is quite low.He disclosed, “The PTF remains seriously concerned about the current low testing rate we have in the country. Nigerians are not getting tested for COVID-19 but we must test to track, in order to slow the spread of the virus even further and to stop any more preventable COVID-related death.”
Aliyu said, “We have released money recently to 32 state governments; each state government was given N1bn. This is for the purpose of driving their COVID response and we are asking them to please prioritise testing in addition to surveillance activities linked to COVID-19. We urge state governments to please publicise their sample collection locations so that people can access the tests.”