The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said no state in the country is free from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of the NCDC, stated this at the daily press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.
The agency’s position, however, contradicts that of the Cross River State government, which insists that the state is COVID-19 free.
According to Ihekweazu, a state can only talk about being COVID-19 free when it is testing and has an effective tool to fight the disease.
The NCDC boss urged all states to develop their laboratory capability to test more persons.
He said: “No state in Nigeria is COVID-19 free. No country in the world is COVID-19 free.
“That is why we have to keep doing this work we are doing, testing people, finding out if they have it. Even if some of us are lucky and get away with having asymptomatic infections, we have to test more.
“We can only talk about a state being disease-free when we have an effective tool to fight the disease. That will come when we have a vaccine. Until then, there is no easy way to say this. We have to keep pushing for these preventive measures. We have to develop our laboratory capability to test.
“Either you start testing now or you start testing later. But eventually, we will all test. That’s for sure.”
Cross River is the only state where no case of COVID-19 has not been officially confirmed in the country.
However, Godwin Akwaji, a lawmaker in the Cross River state house of assembly, died at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) isolation centre last Thursday after showing symptoms of COVID-19.
The NCDC in its situation report for 10 June said the state had only tested nine samples out of its over four million population.
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