Nigeria has added two new molecular laboratory network to test for Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, according to a statement issued by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this in an interview on Saturday, April 25, in Abuja.
Specifically, he revealed the two laboratories are the Usman Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto; and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State.
Ihekweazu said this brings the total number of laboratories where COVID-19 can be tested in the country to 15.
“Nigeria now has the capacity to do a minimum of 3000 tests daily.
“However, a critical challenge remains sample collection and transportation to the relevant laboratories.
“The NCDC is working closely with state governors to strengthen the capacity for sample collection and transportation.
“In Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, officials have begun active case search in communities by visiting areas and collecting samples from people who present with fever and other respiratory symptoms,” he explained.
Further, he added that the NCDC has provided states with additional sample collection kits to ensure that no gap is left in the agency’s goal to ensure a minimum of 3,000 samples is tested daily.
He disclosed that one more laboratory will be activated in Port-Harcourt.
“The NCDC laboratory strategy outlines the plan to expand the laboratories to include HIV and Tuberculosis laboratories in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has revealed that it will not borrow from the contributory pension fund to provide palliatives to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha; on Friday, April 24, in Abuja at the 19th joint national briefing of the committee.
Equally important, the Contributory Pension Scheme, which came into existence in 2004, has grown to over N10trn.
Mustapha made this rebuttal in response to an earlier comment; one attributed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Ayuba Wabba, who opposed the alleged plan.
The SGF said that although the government had toyed with the idea of borrowing from the fund; it concluded that it was too early for government to dip its hands into the fund.