Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Chikwe Ihekweazu, has declared that no state in the country is free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Ihekweazu disclosed this on Monday during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He added that the states need to start testing now as the agency is working to develop its laboratory capacity to test more.
The NCDC DG said: ‘No state in Nigeria is COVID-19 free. No country in the world is COVID-19 free.
‘That is why we have to keep doing this work we are doing, testing people, finding out if they have it. Even if some of us are lucky and get away with having asymptomatic infections, we have to test more.
‘We can only talk about a state being disease-free when we have an effective tool to fight the disease. That will come when we have a vaccine. Until then, there is no easy way to say this. We have to keep pushing for these preventive measures. We have to develop our laboratory capability to test.
‘Either you start testing now or you start testing later. But eventually, we will all test. That’s for sure.’
Cross River is the only state where any case of COVID-19 has not been confirmed in the country.
According to the situation report of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for June 10, the South-South state had only tested nine samples out of its almost four million population, while neighbouring states have recorded cases and are battling community transmission.
In a statement on June 13, the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said there has been an increase of unusual deaths from an acute respiratory disease in the state.
But the state government has repeatedly said the measures it put in place worked in making Cross River free of the disease.