Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says states are not bringing enough samples for COVID-19 tests.
Speaking at the presidential task force briefing in Abuja on Thursday, Ihekweazu said the molecular laboratories under NCDC network are testing just 2,000 samples daily, despite its capacity to test 10,000 a day.
He said the increase in COVID-19 cases in the country is not unusual, adding that the surge was expected with the easing of the lockdown and increase in testing.
“We are pushing hard and we are around 2,000 tests per day and sometimes a little bit less. Over the last two days, we have activated new labs in Ibadan, Akwa Ibom and Jigawa states,” the NCDC boss said.
“However, the collection of samples really happens in the states. Right now, our labs are working between 10 to 20 percent of capacity. We have the capacity to test a lot more, about 10,000 samples a day and probably more if we are pushed hard.
“We will continue to push testing capacity until every state is able to test in their state. We are challenging the states leading the contact tracing and case identification to bring in the samples so that we can collectively know how close we are to the peak.
“The laboratories are there but the samples are not coming in as sufficiently as we want. We want every state to push harder. The only way we can know that we are on top of this is really by testing, and we are ready to do that.
“As we have eased the restrictions that we instituted across the country, we expected the number to increase and we have announced this severally to expect an increase in numbers.”