DIRECTOR-GENERAL of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chike Ihekweazu, has said that the COVID-19 transmission would rise with the reopening of schools and airports.
He, therefore, warned against complacency and the belief that infection rates were declining.
Speaking yesterday during a media briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, Ihekweazu disclosed that only Lagos, Federal Capital Territory, Ogun and Kano states had been consistently carrying out a high volume of testing.
Specifically, Ihekweazu said testing rates had declined drastically in Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa and Yobe states.
According to him, Nigerians are not responding to invitations for testing which he added, needed to be sustained in combating the pandemic.
“I am very confident about what is going on in Lagos, FCT, Ogun and probably Kano and a few other states. Having said that, it doesn’t mean they should let down their guards completely. In fact, with schools and airports opening, we have to increase the level of our testing because inevitably, there would be more transmission. So, how are you able to mitigate the impact of that moving forward, given that we have learnt so much about this virus in the last few months,” he said.
Earlier, National Coordinator of PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, said Nigeria was performing below target in terms of tests for COVID-19, warning Nigerians against making the country to record a second wave of the pandemic.
According to him, people are avoiding the tests for various reasons, including payment, fear and stigma.
“The PTF remains seriously concerned about the current low testing rate we have in the country. Nigerians are not getting tested for COVID-19 but we must test to track, in order to slow the spread of the virus even further and to stop any more preventable COVID-related death,” Aliyu said.
Aliyu urged Nigerians to go for COVID-19 tests, which he said are free at 69 laboratories and centres across the country. According to him, a weekly assessment by the PTF had shown that more Nigerians have shown lack of interest in testing for the virus.