The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Tuesday announced its plans to upgrade its testing capacity for the coronavirus pandemic by testing two million Nigerians in three months.
This new projection was disclosed by the agency’s Director-General, Chikwe Ihekweazu, during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing of Tuesday in Abuja.
The briefing, designed to give an update on COVID-19 management in the country, was aired on Channels TV and monitored by POLITICS NIGERIA.
“The NCDC Laboratory Strategic Group has set itself a target of testing two million people across Nigeria in the next three months,” he said.
Iheakweazu disclosed that the two million would come to about 50,000 per state which, he noted, was a very ambitious target.
He reiterated NCDC’s commitment, stating that the agency was working very hard to equip its network of laboratories to be able to achieve the target in the country.
He said that this would cost a lot of money and also required a lot of collaboration.
“We are lagging behind in testing in Nigeria but now we have to catch up. We will need the support of all the states,” he appealed.
He noted that Nigerians should avoid all non-essential travel because the virus was now in 32 states across the country.
The NCDC boss said: “It doesn’t fly about on its own from state to state; it is carried by humans.”
Iheakweazu, however, called on Nigerians to seek to limit transmission in the country by discouraging inter-state travel.
He disclosed that there was a longstanding World Health Organisation (WHO), Reference Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, adding that the scientists had a new COVID-19 test development at the laboratory.
When the media carry a story there‘s sometimes hyperbole. The test is not available yet, and it also won’t be that cheap; one dollar ($1) when it’s eventually developed,” he explained.