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COVID-19: NCDC now testing about 500 people per day - Ihekweazu





- The NCDC is scaling up its capacity by the day as Nigeria battles coronavirus

- The DG of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has revealed that they are now testing 500 people per day

- The NCDC boss further revealed that by the end of this week, they will be testing 1,000 people per day

The Director-General (DG) of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, on Tuesday, March 31 revealed that Nigeria has been testing about 500 suspected cases of coronavirus per day.

Dr Ihekweazu made the disclosure while answering questions from journalists at a press briefing in Abuja.

COVID-19: We are now testing about 500 people per day - NCDC DG

Dr Chikwe is leading an effective team at NCDC and recently got a commendation from President Buhari
Source: Facebook

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His words: “As at last week, we have the capacity to test about 500 people per day. By the end of this week, we will be testing 1,000, by next week we plan to take it to about 1,500 per day.

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“This will be done by increasing the number of labs that we have and also improving the throughput of these labs.

“We are managing and improving the supply side. At the same time, we need to reduce the demand side to those that really need it.

“The quick solution is not a new lab but increasing the throughput of our existing labs.”

Speaking earlier, the minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire announced that more patients of coronavirus would be released once all their results turn out negative.

His words: “Five persons have been discharged and sent home. Nigeria has unfortunately recorded two fatalities and both of them had underlying illnesses.

“There are some that are due to be discharged. Quite a few are due but the protocol is that they must test negative twice within 24 or 48 hours and if they do not test negative twice they are held back.

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“Treatment normally takes a month or between three to five weeks depending on how your body responds.”

Meanwhile, minister of state for health, Dr Olurunnimbe Mamora, on Monday, March 30 disclosed that it costs the Nigerian government about N10,000 to conduct a COVID-19 test on one individual.

Mamora, a graduate of medicine and surgery from the University of Ife, stated that the testing method by the government is the World Health Organization (WHO) validated Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which produces an accurate result.

He said the government was, however, not worried about the cost but the accuracy of the result, hence the insistence on real-time PCR equipment.

His words: “I don’t have the exact figure but I was meant to understand that it costs about N10,000 or thereabout to run the test. I am not too sure about the figure.

“But even if at N10,000, you can just imagine the huge financial involvement given the number of people that want to be tested.”

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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