The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has cautioned the government that the country may experience another explosion of the coronavirus.
Speaking at a television programme in Abuja, the NCDC Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu explained that nine states have conducted the least number of samples for COVID-19. The states include Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa, and Yobe.
Foretelling that a second wave of the virus might be inevitable, the NCDC advised states to begin ramping up testing to prevent a COVID-19 explosion. It also urged public and private entities, such as banks and religious institutions to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols and measures, even as the economy, air spaces, and schools are gradually opening up.
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu stated, “The data is what it is. We are having fewer cases reported than we had in April, May and the numbers are what they are. The states where we are most comfortable with are the states like Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kano, and Borno. This is because they are testing a lot and not finding as many as they used to find.”
“A few months ago, we used to have a test positivity ratio of up to 20 percent to 25 percent in Lagos – that is 20 percent of all the samples we collected were positive. Now, that figure is down to five percent. So, we are happy with the progress made in Lagos.”
“In some other states, they are not testing enough, because they are not finding cases. It becomes impossible for us to say whether that is a reflection that there are really no cases or it is just a reflection that they are not testing.”
“We have been reaching out to states to let them know that the national curve that we show every day is really a reflection of several sub-national curves. Some states have reacted positively and have started testing more.”
“A perfect example of that is Plateau State. Initially very slow, but now they have started testing more and have found more cases which is a good thing. Now, they know where they are. Many states, unfortunately, haven’t learnt from that and are not testing and finding enough. I’m worried that we might find an explosion in those states that will then affect the rest of the country again.”
“Ultimately, the sample collection and mobilisation efforts within states have to be driven by states. Until they see the benefits of testing more in order to define for themselves where they are, we will be in this position of not having a full certainty of where we are in the trajectory of the outbreak in Nigeria.”
“The second wave is not inevitable but we can avoid it. It can’t be done by government lockdowns, but it can only be achieved in a sustainable way if we come together as a society.”