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NCDC issues new guidelines, to discharge patients who test positive once

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reviewed its testing strategy for COVID-19 regarding the management of confirmed cases.

It was gathered that the new guideline requires patients to be discharged after testing negative once for the disease; unlike it is usually the case.

This was contained in a statement issued by the spokesperson of the NCDC, Emeka Oguanuo, on Wednesday, May 13; stating the agency will soon publish the new guidelines with further details.

Nigeria has so far recorded 4,787 cases of COVID-19 out of which 959 patients have recovered; and have been discharged from isolation centres across the states.

But before getting discharged, NCDC initially required that patients must test negative at least twice for their health status to be confirmed.

It is not immediately clear the reason for the revision; but the agency has repeatedly said its response to the pandemic is guided by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations.

On April 30, the NCDC said it was struggling for bed spaces to admit COVID-19 patients in Lagos.

While briefing the media, the director-general of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu said efforts are being made to change strategy; in order not to allow inadequate bed spaces to affect the fight against the coronavirus.

He also said no state in the country has enough bed space to admit COVID-19 cases.

Various countries and organisations, however, adopt different strategies in their responses.

For instance, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said a single negative test for COVID-19 (especially if from an upper respiratory tract specimen) “does not exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

The WHO recently said there is no evidence that those that have recovered are immune to the disease. Indeed, some of those patients have tested positive a second time after recovery.

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