Nigerian govt. blames states for COVID-19 low testing, threatens to suspend passport
The Government of Nigeria on Tuesday expressed disappointment with states, saying despite the resources made available to them, testing for COVID-19 had been very low.
It also said with effect from January 1, 2021, the passports of the first 100 passengers that failed to take their day seven post-arrival PCR test would be published in the national dailies, while the passports, as deterrence, would also be suspended till June 2021.
Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, added that the government had worked out additional quarantine protocols to be observed by travellers from the UK and South Africa.
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, also spoke during the press conference of the PTF.
According to him, “Reports received also point to the fact that laboratories recently established in the states are not working optimally. You will recall that we moved from two laboratories to about 90 (public and private) in all the states of the federation.
“Their inability to function optimally has resulted in unacceptable levels of delay in receiving results and the pressure on the National Reference Labs. We wish to urge all states to reopen all laboratories and ensure that testing is expanded and turnaround time for results is substantially reduced.”
He also disclosed that week 52 had so far given the nation the highest number of infections in a single week.
“We are also seeing increasing transmission among younger people and this is not considered good and safe. We must therefore exercise utmost restraint by taking responsibility,” Mustapha said
While stressing the issue of oxygen availability as critical to the success of case management, the SGF said that there was an ongoing review of the chain for the supply of medical oxygen for medical facilities across the nation.
While recalling that the PTF recently issued some protocols to states to which a number of states had been actively implementing, he commended the states and urge others to follow suit.
The SGF also said that the PTF has worked out additional quarantine protocols to be observed by travellers arriving from the UK and South Africa.
He said, “The new policy started from Monday, 28th December, 2020. Key changes include requirement from passengers for two additional documents, permit to travel/QR code obtained from the travel portal after payment for the day seven post-arrival test; and COVID-19 PCR negative test with a validity now shortened to 96 hours or 4 days.”