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NCDC laments failure of some states to send samples for COVID-19 testing

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, on Friday, April 24; revealed some states were yet to bring in samples for testing to confirm if they had cases of COVID-19.

Ihekweazu, who disclosed this in an interview; said the NCDC was improving on its testing capacity for COVID-19.

He, however, said it was worrisome that some states had not sent in samples for testing.

The NCDC chief said: “It is a bit like pretending like the problem does not exist because you are not looking for it.

“In every state, we expect a certain number of people to fit the case definition of an acute respiratory infection without an underlying cause.

“If you take away contacts with travellers and with confirmed cases, the third part of our case definition which says anyone with an acute respiratory infection for which there is no underlying cause should have a sample collected to know whether they have this disease or not.

“So, we expect every state to submit a certain number of samples for testing every day. We have seen that some states have not submitted a single sample.

“We are doing an analysis of the number of samples we have received from some states; which we will share with all the governors.

“We are going to send it back to them for them to look at their data and be honest with their people that there are no cases in their states.”

Ihekweazu said the NCDC had so far conducted 9,522 tests as of April 22.

Also, the NCDC hinted at the likelihood of the extension of the current lockdown; saying Nigeria has not gotten to the point where its containment protocols could be relaxed.

Iheakwazu said while relevant authorities are working hard to get to a point where the restriction measures can be eased, the country was yet to get to that point.

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