The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, says coronavirus testing has dropped quite significantly due to reduced sample collection across many states for reasons not clear in all cases.
Speaking at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday, Ehenire cited an example of a state that tested over 35,000 in July and just under 20,000 in August; “while another state dropped from 23,000 in July to just under 4,000 in August.
He urged all state organs not to relent in strengthening surveillance and setting up sample collection sites in all local government areas “and even in all wards of the hotspot LGAs.”
Ehanire said the logistics for sample retrieval and testing must be assured as the Federal Government made provision for at least one laboratory in every state with only Niger, Kebbi and Taraba now outstanding.
The minister said most of the laboratories were operating well below capacity and that plans had been concluded to set up and optimize laboratories in all states.
He said there was a reason to worry that in Edo and Ondo States facing elections, campaign activities had caused caution to be thrown to the wind and COVID-19 infection increased dramatically; “while testing may decline due to frustration.
He cautioned that despite recording just 138 cases in the past 24 hours and discharging 41,513 patients after treatment, the figures might be deceptive and could not be assumed that Nigeria had flattened the curve since the country was yet to perfect due diligence on the virus.
Ahead of the September 5 resumption of international flights, PTF National Coordinator Dr Sani Aliyu, said passengers who failed to comply with the COVID-19 protocol would be suspended from travelling for six months.