On Nigeria’s testing capacity, Director-General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Iheakwazu, who spoke at the daily briefing of the PTF in Abuja, said:
“On the Roche equipment, what we have at the moment in the country as we speak, is a capacity to test about 50,000. This is with the conventional RT-PCR and the new Roche equipment that we have launched today (yesterday). So, with every new laboratory that we have, we just set up a laboratory in Sokoto, it means we have to provide them with the logistics and everything they need to collect samples and we are looking to do this in 36 plus one states.
’The good thing about the new Roche equipment we are starting to work with today is that it eliminates the need for certain things like the extraction kits. So, we can actually do a lot more work in a short time. ‘’If we had all the samples in the laboratories, if all the collections happen from the states, we can do up to 900 or a thousand tests in a day. Really, there is a lot of capacity to test now, the challenge is to bring in the samples quickly and get the equipment working.
Kano COVID19 Laboratory Re-Opens
“Within the first 12 hours of the first confirmed case, we had already deployed a national response team to Kano to support the state government’s efforts. We now have a total of 15 people in Kano and we will continue scaling the number of people supporting Kano State until we get to the appropriate number.
“Just 10 days ago, I announced the activation of the molecular laboratory at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital but unfortunately, we had an incident where the laboratory was contaminated and biosafety measures had to be strengthened.
“So, in the interest of all the healthcare workers in Kano, especially in the teaching hospital, we had to pause and shut down that laboratory for a few days and that was exactly what we did. We have been working together with our colleagues to reactivate this laboratory but we have to do it safely.
“In the last 72 hours, we sent another team from the National Reference Laboratory of the NCDC and they have worked day and night over the weekend to reactivate that laboratory and I am happy to announce that the laboratory will start working this (Monday) afternoon (yesterday) and start testing samples again as they should be. This has not been easy, by any stretch of the imagination.’’