Nigeria to scale up COVID-19 testing capacity to limit transmission

Source: Xinhua| 2020-05-22 21:43:41|Editor: huaxia

LAGOS, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The Nigerian government on Friday said it will continue to scale up testing capacity for the COVID-19 pandemic as the country reported 339 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 7,016 and the death toll to 211.

Speaking against the backdrop of the country's fight against COVID-19 pandemic, Chikwe Ihekweazu, head of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said testing is critical to the national response.

"Our goal is to limit transmission," the NCDC boss told reporters in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, noting that the health agency would continue to build up its testing capacity across the country.

He stressed the need for Nigerians to support the public health response to COVID-19 by taking responsibility to limit transmission.

Ihekweazu said Nigeria is implementing a testing strategy best suited for the country's realities and needs, and the frontline laboratory scientists were doing their best under the critical circumstances.

He called on state governments to intensify efforts to ramp up sample collection and testing for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Boss Mustapha, chairman of Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has called on state governors to exercise caution in relaxing the lockdown directives in their respective states.

The decision poses the risk of exposing more people to the virus, he said.

Despite the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country, some states are relaxing the lockdown measures put in place to limit the spread of the virus.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari earlier announced a ban on large social and religious gatherings in Abuja, Lagos, Ogun, and Kano. The president also ordered a nationwide inter-state travel ban.

State governments also imposed lockdown in their respective domains. Enditem