The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says Nigeria now has the capacity to test 1,500 people a day for coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Minister made the comment at Thursday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
“With the expanded national case definition and addition of two new laboratories to test for COVID-19 in Ibadan and Ebonyi States, the national testing capacity is now at 1,500 a day,” Ehanire said.
He added, “I applaud all our health workers and emergency responders in this critical time.”
The Minister also noted that 71 per cent of 6,000 contacts have been traced and efforts were being intensified to reduce the numbers of suspected cases who have not been reached.
Also present at the briefing was the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.
In his opening speech, Mustapha reiterated that the pandemic was a potential danger to all of humanity and threatens Nigeria’s economy and national security.
Ihekweazu, on his part, revealed that the health agency has deployed officials to 15 states to boost the fight against the spread of coronavirus.
He said, “Yesterday (Wednesday) we conducted the highest number of COVID-19 tests and recorded the highest number of positive cases in Nigeria,” Ihekweazu said.
“We have also deployed 15 rapid response teams to support 15 states. This is the largest deployment of resources ever for an outbreak in Nigeria.”
On Wednesday, the NCDC announced that the virology laboratory of the Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi has been activated for COVID-19 testing.
The Ebonyi laboratory brings the number of COVID-19 testing labs in Nigeria to seven.
The NCDC said more laboratories – in Maiduguri, Kano, Sokoto, Port Harcourt, Jos, and Kaduna – are in the process of being added.