Moses Emorinken, Abuja
DIRECTOR-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu on Monday claimed that the numbers of COVID-19 positive cases in certain states have started to drop. The states are Lagos, Kano, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Plateau and Borno.
He explained that the reason for the reduction in the positivity rate in those states was the result of consistently testing high numbers of persons.
Ihekweazu stated these during a television interview in Abuja.
But, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has urged Nigerians not to rejoice too early, as the fewer positive cases of the past few days does not give an accurate picture of the country’s infection transmission status.
It also disclosed that as sample collection and testing is ramped up in more rural areas and small towns, there is likely going to be an increase in the number of positive cases coming from such areas.
Ihekweazu said: “It is only through testing the numbers of people that may have the infection, that we can actually understand how widespread that infection is.
“The state that gives us the biggest indicator of where we are is the data out of Lagos State. Lagos has consistently made the effort to test as many people as possible. They have been responsible for 50 per cent of the cases initially, which is now down to about 30 per cent in the country.
“What we have seen in Lagos is that they have consistently tested high numbers and we have seen a reduction in the positivity rate – from close to 30 per cent at a time, that is, one in every 10 people tested were positive for COVID-19, to about 10 per cent or less in the last few weeks.
“What does that tell us? Fewer people are turning out positive among those tested in areas that are testing sufficiently. We can say that with confidence in Kano, FCT, Plateau and Borno.
But, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, during the briefing of the PTF in Abuja, said: “The apparently fewer COVID positive cases of the past few days give us no reason to rejoice or to lower our guard. As we expand and include small towns and rural areas in our testing scope, a more accurate picture of our COVID-19 status will emerge.
“There is good reason to prepare for COVID invasion of rural areas with testing, first aid, ambulance service and commensurate isolation and treatment centres.”