Too early to determine decline in coronavirus infection – NCDC

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Dayo Ojerinde

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said it is too early to interpret the reduced COVID-19 cases being recorded in the country as a decline in the infection rates of the second wave.

The Incident Manager, National COVID-19 Emergency Operation Centre, Dr Olaolu Aderinola, in an interview with our correspondent, advised Nigerians not to neglect the non-pharmaceutical preventive methods.

“It is still too early to interpret a decline in new cases as a true interpretation of reduced infection rate. We need to sustain increased testing among persons who meet the criteria for testing based on the case definition and contacts of persons that tested positive.

“Following our review of lessons learned in the last one year of responding to the pandemic, we continue to work with all states and our partners under the leadership of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to sustain response activities. February 27 marked exactly one year since the first COVID-19 case was detected in Nigeria. Since then, more than 150,000 cases have been detected across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. Sadly, this is most likely to be an underestimate, based on results from the recent household seroprevalence survey carried out in the country.

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“We must keep adhering to the public health and social measures that keep each and all of us safe. This means maintaining physical distance, wearing face masks, practicing hand and respiratory hygiene and avoiding crowded indoor places. The vaccines are here as an effective intervention to reduce the number of cases and deaths. We urge members of the public to plan to get vaccinated as scheduled by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency,” he said.

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Aderinola said it was unfortunate that testing had reduced in some states, saying the number of people presenting for sample collection had reduced.

“In some states, testing has continued at a high-scale and the number of confirmed cases has reduced. In other states, testing has declined as the number of people presenting for sample collection has reduced.

“In the last one year, we have supported states with the establishment of more than 70 public health laboratories across the country; with at least one public health laboratory for COVID-19 testing in each state. We will continue to work with all states to scale up both demand for and access to COVID-19 testing. While we sustain risk communications efforts to increase demand for testing, it is very important that Nigerians are aware of the symptoms and signs of the disease the criteria for testing from the community case definition the need for prompt testing and early treatment. The virus causing COVID-19 is still circulating in our country and a decline in cases does not mean we are out of the woods,” he said.

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