The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) on Wednesday said 20 centers would be created in Lagos State for collection of samples from people suspected to have contracted COVID-19.

The NCDC Director-General, Chikwe Ihekweazu, who disclosed this at a press conference of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the samples would be taken to the molecular laboratories in Lagos for testing.

Ihekweazu also said door-to-door collection of samples would soon begin in Abuja. He added that Nigeria had increased her testing capacity to 3,000

At the press conference, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed that the ministry had expanded its case definition for COVID-19.

The NCDC had, on Tuesday, said the problem the country was facing was not the inadequacy of molecular laboratories, but how adequate samples would get to the labs for testing.

It said the 12 molecular laboratories in the country, which put their capacity at 1,500 on Tuesday, were not conducting enough tests.

At the PTF press conference on Wednesday, Ihekweazu said part of the measures to curb the spread of the virus was the adoption of a change in strategy after more testing laboratories had been established.

Samples of people with an acute respiratory infection, high fever to be taken

He said, “We are trying to change our strategy now and test more people. The testing laboratories have increased, but the bottleneck now is getting samples from the right people.

“We are setting up 20 health care facilities in Lagos to collect samples from people that think they have acute respiratory infections and high fever. We are intensifying our surveillance in health, so hospitals around Lagos and the FCT (Federal Capital Territory) can collect samples from people with high respiratory infections.

“In certain Abuja communities, we are going from door to door to collect samples from people that have acute respiratory infections. We are doing the same in Lagos. In these two places, Lagos and the FCT, where there is a high incidence of the infection, we are now going to the patients to collect samples.

“Core centers have improved dramatically and we are urging the people that think they have acute respiratory infections to call us. Go to one of these 20 centers (in Lagos). Don’t go to any other center. Lagos State will announce them as they are set up and make them accessible to everyone.

“We have the capacity right now to test 3,000 per day, but that capacity is not being fully utilized. That is why we focus on Lagos and the FCT.”