COVID-19: PTF urges States to increase testing strategy

By Rahila LASSA, Abuja

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As the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Nigeria ramps up its response strategy, it says State Governments need to increase their testing strategy to effectively curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said this in Abuja, at the National Joint Media briefing.

He said a conversation with health authorities suggested that the level of infections, prevention and control as well as case management should be prioritized immediately.

You will recall that we recently issued some protocols to states to which a number of states have been actively implementing. We thank these states and urge others to follow suit. Closely related to these protocols, is the fact that the strategy of testing to detect and treat remains central to the role states are expected to play. Data shows that despite the resources already made available to sub-national entities, testing is very low across states in varying degrees. This is not helping our National Response. Indeed, some States have not reported any infections in several weeks” he emphasised.

He also lamented that reports received also point to the fact that laboratories recently established in the States were not working optimally.

“You will recall that we moved from two laboratories to about ninety (Public & Private) located in all states of the Federation. Their inability to function optimally has resulted in unacceptable levels of delay in receiving results and pressure on the National Reference Labs. We wish to urge all states to reopen all laboratories and ensure that testing is expanded and turnaround time for results is substantially reduced. In the same vein, states should please keep their Isolation/Treatment Centres open because of the rising cases of infection nationwide” he said.

He further announced that the Presidential Task Force has worked out additional quarantine protocols to be observed by travelers arriving from the UK and South Africa.

He noted that the new policy which commenced on Monday, 28th  December, 2020, was in keeping with its determination to minimize any possibility of importation of the virus.

NEW PROTOCOLS

➢ permit to travel/QR code obtained from the travel portal after payment for the day seven post-arrival test; and

➢ COVID 19 PCR negative test with a validity now shortened to 96 hours or 4 days.

 

The PTF said it will remain vigilant to ensure compliance.

 

 

 

Emmanuel Ukoh

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