Nigeria will be able to test up to 1000 suspected cases of coronavirus by the end of this week, the NCDC has said.
Meanwhile, it should take at least a month to treat a Covid-19 patient to the point that the virus will not be traceable in the body system, the minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, said.
Mr Ehanire said this while answering questions from journalists at the Presidential Taskforce briefing on Tuesday. He also said Nigeria has discharged five patients so far since the first case was reported in the country.
This assertion, however, differs from the figures on the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Covid-19 microsite.
The NCDC on Tuesday said till date, 135 cases have been confirmed, eight patients have been discharged and two deaths from COVID-19 recorded in Nigeria.
The official said there are some people who are due to be discharged “but based on the pattern of treatment, the patients must be tested at least twice between 24 to 48 hours to ensure the test is negative”.
Meanwhile, the Director General, NCDC Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the government is planning on expanding the testing capacity for Nigerians.
He said many Nigerians have been complaining about testing “but the government is working towards solving it.”
He said there had been systematic problems with testing and the current testing capacity is 1000 per day but would soon be 1,500.
”The focus of all our efforts is to increase the number of people that are tested. As of last week, we had the capacity to test 500 per day. By the end of this week, we will be at a thousand per day.
”By next week, we plan to take it to 1500 per day just by increasing the number of labs,” he said.
He also said the government is doing all it can to provide more laboratories.
”You cannot build a molecular laboratory overnight. The quick solution is not building a new laboratory but re-equipping the existing laboratories.
”It not just the job of just the federal government, but state government and the private sector is also coming in,” he said.
Tracking via tech
He said the use of technology is being implemented to track discharged patients of Covid-19.
“One of the biggest lessons we learnt from the Ebola outbreak is the use of technology and that is one aspect we have implemented.
“We have rolled out a system built on the experience of Ebola. It allows the electronic tracking of every case and every contact of every case in Nigeria.
“So at the EOC, we have the ability to map all these cases, their contacts to know which ones have been discharged. We know the links between contacts,” he said.