Nigeria is likely to record more cases of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), infections, as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) progressively expands its testing capacity.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while giving an update on COVID-19 in the country, on Thursday, in Abuja.
Ihekweazu said the COVID-19 is a virus that spreads rapidly from person to person and the NCDC measures must be very stringent.
He said that NCDC scaled up its capacity to conduct tests and produce results more quickly as Nigerians demanded.
He said that the NCDC has also expanded the criteria for who should be tested.
The NCDC DG said that the agency initially recommended that testing everyone with symptoms of fever, coughing and difficulty in breathing, but only if they had these symptoms as well as a history of traveling to an area where cases were endemic or being in close contact with someone who was diagnosed as positive.
Ihekweazu noted that expanding the number of laboratories that could perform COVID-19 testing was critical to getting a more accurate sense of how widespread the virus may be in the country.
He noted that the incubation period for COVID19 was generally two-14 days, adding that NCDC was, therefore, using the window opportunity of the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States to promptly detect, isolate and effectively treat cases.
“Like any medical test, there has to be a clinical reason to perform the procedure.
“In the case of COVID-19, someone must have symptoms of the disease like fever, coughing and shortness of breath.
“Travel to an area with active transmission of COVID-19 is also a factor, as well as close contact with someone who is sick or had traveled.
“It’s advisable for doctors to test their patients for other respiratory illnesses before submitting a COVID-19 test.
“At present, we do not recommend testing for those that do not have symptoms.
“It can take anywhere from two to 14 days for COVID-19 symptoms to develop and until they do the test won’t pick up signs of the disease.