From Aysha Mustapha Kolomi, Maiduguri
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has re-emphasised the need to avoid non-essential travels during the Easter and Ramadan celebrations to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director- General of NCDC, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday that it is very important to adhere to public health and social measures required to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
As Nigerians plan to celebrate Easter and begin Ramadan, it is very important to remember the public health and social measures required to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19.
It is very important to remember the public health and social measures required to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19.
He also emphasised the need for sustained testing as an effective public health response to detect, isolate and treat cases of COVID-19.
He said that the number of collection sites and laboratories had increased in the country making testing more accessible and effective.
The capacity for testing has increased in Nigeria since the outbreak began, from four laboratories to 129 functional laboratories. Of these, 48 are private laboratories and eight are corporate laboratories.
Each state and the FCT have several sample collection sites with at least one molecular laboratory to test.
The NCDC boss noted that it was, therefore, important that Nigerians utilise these resources to enable control of the spread of COVID-19.
The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, sneezing, loss of smell and taste among many others.
It is important to get tested when you have any of the symptoms in the case definition or if you are a close contact to any confirmed case.
If in doubt on how to get a test, call your state emergency line or call 6232, the NCDC Connect Centre toll free number.
Mr Ihekweazu added that it was also important to note that co-infections of SARS-CoV-2 with other pathogens have been reported, thus a positive test for another pathogen does not rule out COVID-19 and vice versa.
He noted that in the last two weeks, the number of samples collected and tested had reduced, despite the availability of sample collection sites and public health laboratories.
The NCDC boss, therefore, urged Nigerians who meet the criteria to get tested.