We Spend $20 for Each COVID-19 Test, Says NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Tuesday said it would target testing two million people in the next three months.

The NCDC DG, Dr  Chikwe Ihekweazu, who said this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 media briefing in Abuja, also said it cost between $18 and  $20 to test a COVID-19 sample.

According to him, the cost does not include human resources and other expenses.

Ihekweazu said these as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) sent a team of experts to Kano State on Tuesday barely 24 hours after he imposed two-week total lockdown on the state.

There have been concerns about the  COVID-19 cases and the increasing deaths in the state, which the NCDC and the state government are investigating.

But on Tuesday, the NCDC boss said the Federal Government would step up testing in Kano and other states in the country.

He said compared with  South Africa, Nigeria was lagging behind in terms of the number of people tested for COVID-19.

Ihekweazu said that it would be impossible to achieve the two million target without huge financial support. He said that to achieve the two million target, at least 50,000 samples must be tested in each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory within the set period.

He said the ban on inter-state movements, which was announced by the President on Monday, would prevent transmission of the virus to areas where cases had not been reported.

Ihekweazu stated,  “There are four states where we have not confirmed a single case. Our goal is to avoid a single case in any of those states and to keep them exactly that way.

The director general had on Monday listed Nasarawa, Yobe, Cross River and  Kogi as states that had not recorded any COVID-19 case.

But on Tuesday morning, the Nasarawa State Government said the state had recorded a case of the virus.

Admitting that Nigeria was lagging behind in terms of  testing, Ihekweazu  said,  “In order to test two million people in three months, we need to test 50,000 samples per state, depending on population size.”

The NCDC DG said that over the next few weeks, he would be engaging aggressively with all state governments, asking them to work with the PTF in order to increase the capacity to test more people.

The Punch

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