PTF urges Nigerians to brace up for COVID-19 testing

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A woman opens her mouth for the heath worker to collect a sample for coronavirus testing during the screening and testing campaign aimed to combat the spread of COVID-19 at Lenasia South, south Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

By Abujah Racheal

Abuja, Sept. 29, 2020 The Federal Government has urged Nigerians to brace up for rapid coronavirus (COVID-19), testing in the country.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the 67th joint national briefing of the taskforce.

“The PTF has already announced to you that testing will be increased through the national testing Week.

“I urge every one to brace up for the programme and mobilise members of the community as well. Testing is the only way to detect, isolate, trace and treat,” he said.

Mustapha said that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), had already issued an advisory on the consequences of not testing enough.

“The numbers are dropping when we compare on month-to-month basis but we still have to be vigilant.

“Health is a shared responsibility on the concurrent list and as partners in the fight against COVID, we urge sub-national entities to tread on the side of caution by increasing the rate of testing.

“We desire the support of institutions (religious, socio-cultural, traditional, etc) to insist on in-depth engagement at community levels, especially in observing the protocols,” he appealed.

The SGF said that development with testing around the world has been very encouraging as technology improves.

“We were pleased to receive the news of the partnership driven by the WHO to roll out 120 million effective rapid test tools capable of providing reliable results in thirty minutes rather than hours.

“It will help to reach distant communities where laboratories are not located and will help in cutting down the response time that medical personnel need to commence treatment,” he explained.

He, however, disclosed that NIgeria would continue to partner with the WHO and shall certainly be part of the early beneficiaries of the rollout when it commences.

The SGF noted that Nigeria was also contributing to the global effort in the diagnosis of COVID-19 through research institutes led by the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research.

“The PTF will be updating you as we progress,” he said.

Mustapha noted with sadness that the global community just crossed an unenviable milestone when COVID-19 related fatalities surpassed the one million mark.

“It has taken only eight months for over 33 million persons to be infected and one million fatalities to be recorded in almost all countries and territories of the world.

“These numbers underscore the seriousness of the pandemic and should help to determine how not to lower our guard.

“Let me remind all Nigerians that like our diamond anniversary celebration, the COVID-19 has made year 2020 a most significant year for us in Nigeria.

“We need to do all we can to survive it, and we have the solutions in our hands. Let us take responsibility,” he said.

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