The Federal Government on Tuesday said by next week, Nigeria would be testing 1,500 people for COVID-19 every day.
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, who disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, said the country, as of last week, was conducting 500 tests per day.
Ihekweazu said this as some states, including Oyo and Edo, on Tuesday complained that they were facing a shortage of testing kits for the virus.
Ihekweazu, at the press conference, said the NCDC would only test specific persons whose case definition fitted into that of the centre.
He stated, “As of last week, we were testing about 500 per day, or we had the capacity to test 500 per day. By the end of this week, we will be at 1,000 per day, and next week we plan to take it to 1, 500 per day, just by increasing the number of labs.
“We are managing and improving the supply sides, but at the same time, we need to reduce the demand side to those that really need it. So, in Lagos, there is a big problem with a lot of anxiety and everybody wants to get tested. We need you to help us give this message to people. We have a case definition for COVID-19; either you have respiratory symptoms plus travel; plus contact with a confirmed case or respiratory symptoms of unknown explanation.
“This is an important message because the more people force themselves into being tested the less we have the capacity to test those that really need it. These people that really need it will be transmitting it into the community and more people will get infected.
“So, there is a consequence, not just for you as an individual, but for the rest of society. So, we need to get to those we need to get to. And by testing those that don’t need it, we block the system from those that need it, and the outbreak continues. So, there is a price to pay for testing all these asymptomatic individuals.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at the press conference, said the country received from a Chinese billionaire, Jac Ma, 100,000 face masks, 20,000 pieces of test kits, 9,999 pieces of face shields and 1,100 pieces of personal protective equipment.