The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on Wednesday evening, clarified the rationale behind the temporary closure of the testing centre for COVID-19 in Kano State.
Mr Ehanire while speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 said some staff of the laboratory were reported to have been infected with COVID-19. He admitted that the centre also ran short of some testing reagents.
These, he said, necessitated the temporary shutdown for decontamination.
“As of the testing in Kano, there was a report that they have reduced availability of reagents and we supplied that.
“But in addition to that, there was a temporary halt in activity because some of the workers in the laboratory got infected, and laboratory had to be shut down for decontamination. That was just temporary,” he said.
He, however, said the federal government has supplied the laboratory with additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and reagents.
“With regards to supply of reagents, they have been replenished. They have PPE, they have reagents now, they are working,” Mr Ehanire said.
PREMIUM TIMES had on Wednesday reported that the NCDC’s COVID-19 testing centre in Kano suspended its operation due to shortage of testing kits.
The testing centre, domiciled at Malam Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, also serves many other Northern Nigerian states.
Kano is one of the states with the highest number of COVID-19 cases. The state has so far recorded 73 cases since its first case was discovered.
As of 11:25 p.m. on April 22, there are 873 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. Of these, 197 infected people have recovered and have been discharged while the death toll rose to 28 from 25 reported on Tuesday.
A breakdown of all the cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 504 cases, followed by FCT – 119, Kano – 73, Ogun – 24, Katsina – 21, Osun – 20, Oyo and Edo – 17 cases each, Kwara-10, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom and Borno – nine cases each, Bauchi has recorded eight cases, Delta – six, Gombe – five, Ekiti – four, Ondo and Rivers three apiece.
Jigawa, Enugu, Niger and Abia have two cases each while Benue, Anambra, Sokoto and Adamawa have a case apiece.
Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Nigeria have been on the rise since the confirmation of the index case in February.
A total of 24 states and the FCT have reported at least a case of the virus.
More cases are expected as the government intensifies contact tracing and testing across the nation.
On Tuesday, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the increasing cases of confirmed COVID-19 in the country is as a result of the government scaling up its testing capacity as well as early signs of community transmission.
He said the outbreak in the country is now in the community transmission phase.
“We have passed that era when people used to think that COVID-19 was something for big men and big women who came from abroad.
“Door to door testing is now taking place in some communities in Lagos and the FCT.”
He said now that the virus has gotten to the grassroots, the primary healthcare centres have a role to play in early detection.
“We advise the use of tissue or handkerchief when you are coughing. Remember to wash and sun-dry your reusable face masks or iron your cloth masks,” he added.