There are currently eight laboratories in Nigeria carrying out the tests for COVID-19.
The facilities in Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki in Ebonyi and the Biosecurity Centre in Lagos that used to be supported by the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), have also been activated, increasing the number of molecular laboratories carrying out testing in the country to eight.
With the rising demand for covid-19 test in the country, reports say that a further six new laboratories will be opened in the coming weeks in Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Jos and Port Harcourt with the capacity to diagnose COVID-19.
This will help to increase the number of daily tests that can be done in the country. Different mitigation strategies have been put in place in Nigeria to reduce and contain the spread of COVID-19 – from the closure of international airports, schools and businesses, to the stoppage of public gatherings, social distancing measures and the lockdowns in Lagos, Federal Capital Territory and Ogun.
The testing criteria in Nigeria has so far been targeted at certain groups, so it is important for people to understand the testing criteria adopted by the Federal Ministry of Health. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has just published the fifth version of the case definition guide that outlined who is being tested.
The case definition offers a standard criteria used to classify the clinical features used to determine who to test for COVID-19. Commenting on the new case definition, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, NCDC, said that based on the new knowledge of COVID-19 in the country, the centre had expanded its case definition to enhance response to the disease.
Ihekweazu listed the category of people being tested for COVID-19.
- Anyone with a travel history outside Nigeria, with symptoms of fever, cough or breathing difficulties within 14 days of arrival.
- Anyone who has symptoms and is in contact with a confirmed case.
- Anyone with fever and either cough, difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath in an area of high COVID-19 prevalence in Nigeria with no other explanation.
According to him, people who fell in the above categories were advised to remain in self-isolation and immediately call the NCDC hotline – 080097000010 or their state hotline, which could be found on the state hotline directory published by the NCDC.
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