Amidst concerns that the COVID-19 virus has infected more people in the country than have been reported, health watchers argue that gaps in the nation’s testing protocol and inadequacies in contact tracing among others, are undermining containment efforts.
New cases have been on an upward trend since early December 2020 and last week, the total number of confirmed cases in the country passed the 100,000 mark even as the number of samples tested totalled in excess of one million.
Over the weekend, the global death toll from the pandemic surpassed two million as Nigeria joined nations around the world in the race to procure vaccines and stepped up efforts to detect new variants of the virus.
Nigeria has been off track in testing for new confirmed cases. In April 2020, a target to attain two million tests by the end of July was not achieved. To date just over one million COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the country.
In its update for 16th January, 2021, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC, noted that Nigeria had carried out tests on a total of 1,154,138 samples averaging 5,439 tests per million population which is rated among the lowest in the world.
In comparison, Ghana had carried out tests on over 701,000 samples, averaging 22,300 tests per million population, while South Africa, had tested over 7.5 million samples to give a total of 126,500 tests per million population while Morocco, had tested 5.1 million samples to give 139,134 tests per million population.