Nigeria’s economic hub expands COVID-19 response capacity

Abandoned street in Lagos, Nigeria. REUTERS PHOTO

As Nigeria continues to see a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, authorities in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub and epicenter have expanded its response capacity with the accreditation of seven private laboratories to boost its testing capacity and three private hospitals for case management.

The total number of cases in the most populous African country stood at 24,077, as the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 779 new cases late Saturday.

The country now has 14, 115 active cases with 8,625 treated and discharged.

Also, a total of 558 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Akin Abayomi, Lagos commissioner for health, said the state remains committed to bringing the outbreak under control, making economic activities continue as best as possible and improving strategies to keep the citizens safe in the face of threats posed by the pandemic.

According to him, the state commenced the accreditation and validation of private health facilities to assist in the fight against the virus because of the need to improve the COVID-19 response strategy, testing capacity, and management of cases, especially in the light of the evolving phase of the outbreak.

“We want to increase our testing capacity even more and one of the tenets of managing this outbreak is to test as many people as possible so that we can employ the principle of isolation,” Abayomi said in a statement reaching Xinhua in Lagos on Sunday.

“Right now, we are testing between 500 and 800 persons a day and in the next few weeks, we will have established a consortium of laboratories to carry out the test,” Abayomi added.

“These laboratories have all passed our validation, they have been accredited and we will be adding them to our testing consortium, in addition to our already established public laboratories headed by the Lagos State Bio-bank,” the health official said.

“We are just going through the logistics of having them in the consortium of laboratories and by next week, these laboratories are going to be testing on behalf of the government to provide an expanded testing strategy, so that we can get a clearer understanding of the outbreak in Lagos,” the commissioner added.

Lagos, where the index case in Nigeria was recorded on February 27, has remained the epicenter for the pandemic in the country, with 10,026 cases.

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