At least, 6,000 people are being traced in Lagos and Abuja over their contact with coronavirus patients, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, said during a live interview on television yesterday.
He also said no fewer than 2,000 people have been tested across the country, explaining that, since there was no known vaccine for the virus at the moment, the best way to prevent further spread was to limit people’s movement and contact.
“We appeal to Nigerians to bear the few weeks of pain to come and let’s see whether we can get on top of this.
“These weeks will allow our teams to have access to the contacts that are living around Lagos, FCT. We are following over 6,000 contacts of these 111 confirmed cases across these two cities. Every time we have a new case, we add about 50 to 60 contacts that we then have to follow every single day for 14 days.
“We hope that we can really use this time to buy some time to get ahead of the cases and ultimately see that curve start going down but, in the next few days, we still do expect an increase in cases.
“We have currently tested well over 2,000 people; we will update those figures today or tomorrow. We have increased the number of labs in our network to six. We are activating Abakaliki today. There’d be a seventh lab in our network.
“We’re maximising the opportunity of the equipment that we have and at the same time rolling out new labs. We’re very focused on increasing the testing capacity. We are being boxed down by people who do not require the test.”
Asked how long it takes for a test to be carried out and the result released, Ihekweazu said, at present, it takes 24 to 48 hours, adding that the centre is working on bringing it down to 12 hours.
He further explained that some tests are delayed because they are carried out twice to ensure that the results are accurate.
“Molecular testing is carried out in runs. One run can take six to seven hours. We have now almost optimised the process to do three runs a day in each lab. And that’s why you have seen the numbers rise because we are testing more samples and producing more results,” he said.
“It depends on many things. In 24 to 48 hours. We’re trying very hard to reduce that. Our target is to get out results in 12 hours.”
On what the chances of a person cured of the disease being reinfected are, he said, “It is only with time that we can know if individuals can be reinfected.”