Nigeria to add more laboratories for COVID-19 testing – Official

coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus [Photo:]

Nigeria is expanding its laboratory facilities so as to improve COVID-19 testing, the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said.

Mr Ihekweazu on Monday warned that cases of Covid-19 are expected to increase in the country.

“We expect cases of Covid-19 to rise as we improve capacity to detect and test. Our labs are activated to function 24/7,” he said.


Testing for Covid-19 is key to combating the spread of the disease across the country. At the moment, Nigeria has six functional laboratories.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how NCDC increased the number of its testing laboratories from five to six, a figure expected to rise to seven by Monday.

The six functional laboratories are in Lagos (2), Oyo, Osun, Edo, and FCT.

The official said the nation’s capacity to test for COVID-19 will scale up to 13 laboratories in the next three weeks, with work in progress “to add more laboratories in Abakaliki, Maiduguri, Kano, Sokoto, Port-Harcourt, Jos, Kaduna”.

Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in February, Nigeria has been using five laboratories to diagnose cases. The sixth was added on Friday.

Critics have been accusing the government of selective testing, saying the country has not been testing enough patients compared to other countries.

This, they said, may be the reason for the low number of confirmed cases reported in the country.

However, Mr Ihekweazu insisted Nigeria has been carrying out a fair number of tests, having tested over 2,000 people with less than 10 per cent testing positive.

He also said NCDC was tracking about 6,000 people who had been in contact with persons who tested positive to COVID-19.

Mr Ihekweazu also appealed for the patience of Nigerians for the few weeks of pain that would come.

“We appeal to Nigerians to work with us in compliance with the measures instituted by the President.

“Everyday NCDC is improving the turnaround time,” he said.

“We are being bogged down by people who do not require the test. So we have to manage demand. We have to focus on those who need it the most.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Is Buhari’s anti-coronavirus lockdown of Lagos, Ogun, Abuja legal?

“The duration between testing and results depends on several factors. But it is between 24 to 48 hours. Our target is to get results out in 12 hours,” he said.

He said in the short-term, the number of confirmed cases is expected to keep rising, “but NCDC also expects to be able to get on top of this.”

“Our ability to flatten the curve of Covid-19 in Nigeria depends on all Nigerians. Our goal is to mobilise all available resources to tackle the virus. We remain grateful for the support we have received so far from stakeholders and partners” he said.


PREMIUM TIMES reported that 111 people have tested positive for the virus, as of Sunday night, according to the NCDC.

Currently, Lagos has 68 cases; Abuja – 21, Ogun – three, Ekiti – one, Oyo – seven, Osun – two, Enugu – two, Edo – two, Bauchi – two, while Benue, Kaduna and Rivers have one case each.

Coronavirus factsheet


PT Mag Campaign AD

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...

BE THE FIRST TO KNOW! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application