The Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19 said Thursday that the country’s testing and tracing capabilities have improved about 3,500 daily.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who disclosed this at a briefing in Abuja, said this was due to the fact the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) now have at least one molecular laboratory.
“Our testing and tracing capabilities have improved a lot, such that virtually every state has least one laboratory that has increased our daily testing capacity to about 3,500.
“We are, however testing well below that capacity, because laboratories are receiving fewer samples than they could handle, leaving some partners to doubt our reports.
“I, therefore, appeal to state governments to improve on sample collection and capacity utilization. All persons with COVID evocative symptoms, or who may have come in contact with a confirmed covid case should please submit themselves for testing.
“We are especially worried, about huge COVID increases in certain countries with which we have high volume of human traffic. The Federal Ministry of Health therefore wishes to advise Nigerians against non-essential travel to high burden countries.
“The risks that the movement of travelers create, can only be countered with improved surveillance programmes. I wish to specially solicit that all travelers cooperate with border authorities to protect our people and also our health system from stress.
“We are obliged to reduce the risk of COVID importation to a minimum. As at 26th September, out of a total of 1,473 Persons of Interest (POI) tested across 3 laboratories in the FCT since the opening of the international travel air space, 22 tested positive,” he said.
The minister said some countries have been compelled to introduce stricter social restrictions like closure of restaurants, bars, prohibition of gatherings of more than six persons, compulsory wearing of masks outdoors, targeted lockdowns to address sharp increase in COVID cases.
He said the Federal Ministry of Health would organise a Primary Health Summit in the second week of November to unveil the President’s agenda on Basic Healthcare and the areas of emphasis in the march to Universal Health Coverage.
“The Basic Health Care Provision Fund is in full operation and all eligible States have received their allocations. The BHCPF 2020 Manual will be formally presented on that date. Details will follow in due course,” he said.