Home News COVID-19: NCDC, partners on high alert as Easter approaches

COVID-19: NCDC, partners on high alert as Easter approaches

by Haruna Gimba

By Zayamu Hassan

The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, has revealed that following the relaxation of travel advisory by the Federal Government, his agency and partners are on high alert as the Easter holiday approaches.

He noted that both local and international travels are expected to increase, hence, the NCDC is watching keenly to see what will happen with disease trends during the period.

Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, on Monday, Dr Adetifa, advised Nigerians to get vaccinated as there is uncertainty whether another variant of the disease will emerge or not.

“When things appear to be quiet, we do not know what the virus is doing, we do not know whether another variant will emerge, but what we do know is that as long as we continue to have free rate transmission in mostly unvaccinated population, then the risk of the emergence of a new variant will persist.

“Following the relaxation of travel advisory, NCDC and partners are on a very high alert to watch what will happen with disease trends over this Easter period when we know we have a peak of travel and also towards the end of Ramadan when we know we have a bit of travel both domestically and gathering of people,” he stressed

He disclosed that the NCDC was concentrating on surveillance and also strengthening of national referral laboratory network.

“In terms of COVID response update, we are using this period of relative quiet to concentrate on few things. One of them is that we need to maintain surveillance to be able to test so that we can identify cases, identify the virus and sequence it to identify what the variant may be at play in the country and to pick the entry or the introduction of any other variant of interest or variant of concern.

“In addition, we continue to strengthen our national referral laboratory network. Recently, we hosted the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) Laboratory audit team when it visited both the National Reference Lab in Gaduwa Abuja and the Central Public Health lab (CPHL) in Lagos.

“We are very pleased to report that in the West African region, the National Reference Lab was given a rating of five star and is top of the list as far as all the labs in the region is concern.

“The CPHL came a close second with a four-star rating along our sister lab in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development that is the National Veterinary and Research Institute Lab.”

Dr Adetifa, however, debunked news reports in a section of the media alleging that the number of COVID-19 cases have increase in the country by 45 per cent in the past few weeks.

While describing the news report as untrue, he insisted that Nigeria did not witness 45 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases and that the positivity rate of the country remained at 0.2 per cent.

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