Coronavirus: “We Have A Target To Test 2 Million Nigerians In 3 Months” NCDC DG, Chikwe Ihekweazu

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The Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu has disclosed that the agency has a target of testing 3million Nigerians by July.

Although Dr. Ihekweazu said the country has so far only carried out about 20,000 tests, he, however, noted that Nigeria is not fully utilizing its testing capacity.

He stated this while responding to questions from members of the House of Representatives during the appearance of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID before the House on Tuesday.

“We have set ourselves a target to test 2million Nigerians in the next three months, and we have developed a specific strategy around this. Working with our development partners. Today we have tested 20,000 even at that 20,000, we are not fulfilling the capacity that we have. Because testing does not depend on the lab, it depends on the logistics of collecting the sample and transporting it safely, and everything around that. We will continue to do that. We have a challenge from a few states that we are simply not collecting enough samples from. We have not had a confirmed case in Kogi state and Cross River state. And there are other states with a very low number of cases,” he stated.

While answering questions on the burial of victims of COVID19, he noted that the NCDC does not take the corpse away, rather state governments and families of the dead are the ones making such arrangements with guidelines of the NCDC.

“In terms of burial, we have burial guidelines, we call it the safe and dignified burial guideline. We try to ensure that when the burial happens, it happens safely and also respect the traditions and norms of whatever group is burying their dead, we never take the corpses away, it is the state government that works with the family to find a way of organizing the burial. Never is any corpse taken away from the family. Those guidelines are available on our websites.”

The DG also informed the house that states are in charge of the treatment of infected persons, not the NCDC.

“The responsibilities of treatment centres are actually for the states, our role is to support them with guidelines, knowledge and infrastructure sometimes. I can tell you that every state has been working hard to increase capacity. Lagos just opened the 5th largest treatment centre in Gbagada.”