COVID-19: Lagos battles shortage of reagents, FCT runs out of test kits

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 at the House of Representatives on Tuesday said Kano State had become the epicentre of coronavirus in the North.

The  PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; who led other members of the task force, including the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed this while briefing the House on the war against the virus in the country.

He said Kano State lacked adequate manpower for surveillance and contact tracing.

Also on Tuesday, the Lagos State Government said it was battling with a shortage of reagents. The Federal Capital Territory on its part said it was facing a shortage of test kits.

In March, there was no COVID-19 case in Kano State, but since April 11 when it recorded its index case,  there has been a surge in the number of persons infected with the virus.

Currently, the state with 365 cases is second only to Lagos State with 1,183 cases as of 5pm on Tuesday.

Mustapha expressed concern over the spread of the disease in Kano State. “Kano is fast emerging as the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in the North, which necessitated Mr President’s specific directives in his broadcast of Monday, 27th April, 2020,” he said.

The President, Major General  Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in the broadcast,  imposed a total lockdown on the state and also dispatched a team of experts to help curb COVID-19 spread.

The SGF on Tuesday, said,  “A key weakness of the Kano COVID-19 response is the lack of adequate manpower for surveillance and contact tracing. The PTF has mobilised resources from across the health sector, including multilaterals, bilaterals, the MDAs and the private sector, to push through an accelerated expansion of the rapid response team from 21 to 50.”

“Working with partners, we are establishing at least one sample collection centre and two facilitators per local government area. In addition to a seven-day motorised campaign across major urban areas in Kano. We have mobilised about 3,300 informants through the WHO (World Health Organisation)/polio programme for house-to-house search and reporting of suspected cases.

“The Federal government will in due course announce significant additional material and technical resources to complement the state government’s efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic in Kano.”

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