COVID-19: Expert Tasks FG to Scale Up Testing Capacity

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A Humanitarian Health expert, Dr Olalekan Ogungbemi, has urged the Federal Government to intensify efforts in scaling up testing capacity to halt community transmission of COVID-19 in the country.

He gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lafia on Sunday while reacting to the death of Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Malam Abba Kyari.

Ogungbemi, who is the Head of Humanitarian Health Service of the Foundation and a Clinician with the United Kingdom National Health Service, described the death of Abba Kyari as sad.

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According to him, the testing capacity for COVID-19 in Nigeria at the moment is low and does not correspond with the present reality on the ground.

He noted that only testing could determine or point out infected patients.

“The problem is getting worse than we envisaged and the government needs to scale up testing so as to halt community transmission as quickly as possible because it is a worse form of transmission,” he said.

Ogungbemi expressed concern over the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country and failure of some states to declare lockdown so as to contain the pandemic.

“This is a wake-up call to my earlier advice on making rules national rather than according to a region or by state.

“The lockdown will be good if everyone abides by it but not everyone is abiding by it and not every state in Nigeria is under lockdown. This is a problem on its own,” he said.

The health expert advocated the compulsory wearing of face mask and strict observance of social distancing order by all Nigerians irrespective of status while carrying out their daily activities.

He added that the defaulters should be made to either pay a fine or risk being prosecuted, noting that the fight to halt the spread of COVID-19 should be seen as a collective one.

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