Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC

COVID-19: It’s not yet over as Nigeria is not testing adequately, says NCDC

*Only Lagos, Kano, FCT can confidently celebrate a decline in cases because they have tested high numbers, but others at the national level and some states are not testing, says Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC

*National Coordinator dislcoses PTF on COVID-19 has released 1Nbillion each to 32 state governments

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Although the country has recorded a decline in the numbers of COVID-19 cases in recent times, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has warned Nigerians that it is not yet celebration time, as the country has not tested adequately, and therefore, still risks resurgence of the pandemic.

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, who disclosed this at a briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Monday, September 21, in Abuja, FCT, said that the country recorded a 36 percent decline nationally in August, compared to July, while the positivity ratio dropped from 20 percent in June to seven percent in July 2020.

Ihekweazu, however, said that “you might think that that is good news, and we should be celebrating; unfortunately, we cannot celebrate this until we test sufficient numbers in every state in the country.

“One critical issue is the number of tests being done, and yes, the numbers of tests have actually declined, but another important indicator that we look at is the test positivity ratio nationally.”

The NCDC Director-General stated that the only states that can confidently celebrate a decline in cases are Lagos and Kano, as well as the FCT, because they have tested high numbers, but the same cannot be said at the national level because some states are not testing.

He decried that the NCDC could not make any interpretation on the data in Taraba Adamawa, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kebbi, Zamfara,  Jigawa and Yobe States.

Ihekweazu said: “We do not have enough data coming out of these states to ascertain if we are improving or not or where exactly we are.

“So we have to work together, in summary; it is way too early to make any interpretation whether we are flattening the curve or not, some interpretation can be made in Lagos, FCT, because they are testing enough, but we can’t do this on a national level.’’

The NCDC boss noted that countries that seem to have seen a decline were seeing a resurgence of cases.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has disbursed N1billion each to 32 states in the country amid the pandemic.

Dr. Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator of PTF on COVID-19, announced the disbursement of the sum Monday during the briefing in Abuja.

Aliyu said: “We have released money to the state governments recently, to 32 state governments. Each state government was given a billion naira.

“This is for the purpose of driving their COVID responses and we are asking them to prioritise testing in addition to surveillance activities linked to COVID-19.”

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