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COVID-19: Mass testing for Coronavirus will be available by May 2020 – NCDC



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said mass testing for COVID-19 will happen between May and September 2020.

This was contained in a report detailing how it plans to scale up laboratory tests for coronavirus in Nigeria.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, had earlier said there would be no mass testing for COVID-19 because of the scarcity and expense of testing kits.

However, in the report, the agency said the mass testing would be carried out “to survey the population, to learn more about this virus and contribute to research and development”.

“The Federal Ministry of Health has prioritised testing as one of the key interventions to the COVID-19 response in Nigeria,” the report read.

“As global shortages of diagnostic kits and laboratory consumables increasingly impact the optimal functionality of the laboratory system in Nigeria and across the world, an adaptive testing strategy will be adopted to ensure the most vulnerable persons, those at elevated risk, and those with super spreading potential have access to testing.

“From April 2020, NCDC will work with existing laboratories to ensure that everyone who meets the case definition gets tested.

“In the next one month, NCDC will expand testing capacity to six more molecular laboratories in the country, resulting in a total of 14 laboratories. Between May and September 2020; we will roll out mass testing to survey the population, to learn more about this virus and contribute to research and development.”

The NCDC added that it plans to use existing HIV and tuberculosis laboratories in the country to test for COVID-19.

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