The Federal Government has said that it has 6,700 contacts in the country over the COVI9-19 global pandemic.
The Director General Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this on Friday in Abuja at the fifth joint national briefing of the Presidential Taskforce Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
“Nigeria has been tracing a total of 6,700 contacts in all, 71 percent of them have been followed up as of yesterday (Thursday).
Some people were ‘graduated’ out of contact-tracing after 14 days, if they showed no symptoms of the virus.
“All the focus of the agency for this week had been to improve the levels of contact tracing, by taking advantage of the lockdown.
In Lagos state, the lockdown has been especially helpful for our contact tracing. Let me say it that the NCDC would never deploy anything without validating its use,” Ihekweazu said.
He said the test kits donated by Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma, are being evaluated at the moment, and that once the centre is sure the results were the same quality as what they previously have been seeing from existing tests, the kits would be deployed.
According to him, there are lots of works happening in the background to increase testing capacity but Nigerians need to be patient.
“We would continue to review guidelines such as the case definition, as more precise information emerged on the COVID-19 outbreak including characteristics of transmission and geographical spread.
“The major update to the current case definition is that any patient with acute respiratory illness within the last 10 days, fever and either cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, and in absence of an alternative diagnosis that explains the clinical presentation.
“Those residing or working in the last 14 days in an area identified by NCDC as a moderate or high prevalence region will be treated as a suspect case.
This is in addition to the already existing case definition where the focus was on symptomatic patients (fever and either cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath) who are recent international travellers within 14 days of arrival or contacts of confirmed cases.
He had earlier said that the tests for the COVID-19 pandemic across the country must be done quickly without compromising on standards.
He said, “As much as speed was important, accuracy was also important, and the nation have to find a balance.”
He said that one more testing laboratory had been added to Nigeria’s COVID-19 Test Network to make it eight altogether.
“Nigeria now has eight laboratories for testing for COVID-19. A new Lab opened in Lagos this (Friday) morning.
The new lab is the Biosecurity Facility in Lagos State. So, Lagos now has three labs. Later today we will activate a lab in Abuja, and then Kano will be next.