The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has disclosed directive given to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to carry out 450 COVID-19 tests in each local government area of the country.
The PTF chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, also Secretary to the Government of the Federation, made this known; at the national briefing on COVID-19 on Monday, January 18, in Abuja.
Mustapha said the NCDC exercise would start with the states that were at the forefront; of resourcing and also infrastructure.
According to him, the PTF has authorised the NCDC to immediately implement the 450 tests; per local government plan nationwide.
Mustapha said: “We are aware that states are not on the same pedestal in the area of testing; and we shall begin with the states that are at the forefront of resourcing and infrastructure.”
On resumption of schools, Mustapha said that several states had complied with the resumption of schools.
He said: “PTF recommends strongly that very strict adherence to Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions should be enforced by the states to avoid the escalation of cases.
“The PTF will continue to dialogue with the Governors and the Federal Ministry of Education to closely monitor the situation.”
On Nigeria’s position on the global level in terms of the spread of the virus, the chairman said: “In the African continent, South Africa and Nigeria continue to report highest daily count, while South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Algeria, and Kenya account for 76 per cent of all cases in the region.
“Nigeria has moved up to the third position in highest cumulative caseload; but remains second for new cases as well as fifth highest in cumulative deaths on the World Health Organization , (WHO) African region.
“From the foregoing, testing has proven to have become more significant in our national response.
“The PTF still urge the state governments to enable their Emergency Operations Centres (EOC) to step up on sample collection and to maximise the capacities of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Laboratories already established in their states.”
He assured Nigerians that the vaccines to be approved would be safe and also good for Nigerians; noting: “the positive news about vaccines remains high in the ranking of discussions nationwide.”