The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has said the figures of confirmed COVID-19 cases released for Akwa Ibom are accurate.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, the director-general of the agency, said this is not a time to dispute or doubt especially within government.
“This is not a time to release press statements against anybody. It is time to come together,” he said.
Ihekweazu was responding to a statement by the Akwa Ibom government, questioning the credibility of the recently confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state.
The agency, on Wednesday, announced 23 new cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. Five of the new cases were said to have been recorded in Akwa Ibom State.
The state government, in a statement by its commissioner for health, Dominic Ukpong, however, said there was “a disturbing breach in the test and reporting procedure” adopted by the agency.
It said the reported positive test cases have been contacted and they have shown no COVID-19 symptoms.
The government, therefore, demanded a reconfirmation test on the five reported cases.
“Owing to the irregularities observed in the testing and reporting procedure, healthcare professionals in Akwa Ibom State have called for an immediate reconfirmation test on the five reported cases,” the statement said.
Ihekweazu while answering questions from a journalist at the Presidential Taskforce briefing on Thursday, said there is no reason for doubts as the test was carried out in a trusted laboratory.
He also said the COVID-19 test is done twice before results are announced.
“Every new case in a state always leaves a little bit of anxiety and people need time to accept that these results are what they are.
“But they are what they are, I have no reason to doubt the results coming out from any of our labs and especially the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital,” he said.
“There is no result anybody will give without verifying. We are working very hard to make sure these results are correct.
“Sometimes we delay in releasing these results because the test is being repeated so that we can be very sure,” he added.
The NCDC boss said the reported cases “will be retested at a specific time”.
“Yes, they will be retested at a specific time. After every positive case, we would retest anyway after three to four days.
“The only way to know it people are recovering or not is by retesting them so that will be done,” he said.
Akwa Ibom Government Rejects NCDC Results Of 5 Positive Cases
The Akwa Ibom State Government has rejected the test results of the five coronavirus cases announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Wednesday night.
It fingered irregularities in the testing process and thereby called on the Centre to conduct another round of tests forthwith.
In a statement issued on Thursday, April 3, 2020 the government said all the fives cases reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 were yet to show any symptom of the virus.
It alleged that the NCDC director-general, Chikwe Ihekweazu, was not aware of the results before the announcement.
The statement read, “We observed a disturbing breach in the test and reporting procedure. Akwa Ibom State Government only heard about the test results in the news
“The Director-General of NCDC was not aware of the reported result announcement.
“All five reported positive test cases have been contacted and they have shown no COVID-19 symptoms.
“While the tests were being processed in NCDC-approved test facilities, all suspected cases were held in isolation.
“Several sample batches have been previously sent for testing from Akwa Ibom State and they all returned negative results.
“Owing to the irregularities observed in the testing and reporting procedure, Health Care Professionals in Akwa Ibom State have called for an immediate reconfirmation test on the five reported cases.”
WHO Expresses Concerned As COVID-19 Cases Escalate In Africa
With more than 6000 COVID-19 cases reported in Africa, the virus is threatening fragile health systems on the continent. Infections are increasingly spreading not only between African countries but within different localities in the hardest-hit countries.
For instance, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where COVID-19 cases were at first confined to Kinshasa, now a handful of cases have been reported in the easternmost regions of the country that were until recently in the grip of an Ebola outbreak. In South Africa, all provinces have now reported cases. The outbreaks in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Senegal are also widespread.
“Case numbers are increasing exponentially in the African region,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa “It took 16 days from the first confirmed case in the Region to reach 100 cases. It took a further 10 days to reach the first thousand. Three days after this, there were 2000 cases, and two days later we were at 3000.”
To contain COVID-19, many countries in Africa are implementing measures, which restrict gatherings and the movement of people. Nationwide lockdowns are in effect in Kenya, Uganda, the Republic of the Congo and elsewhere. However, governments must use these measures in a considered, evidence-based manner, and make sure that people can continue to access basic necessities.