Lagos spends over N750m on COVID-19 tests

  • Set to roll out chloroquine

Lagos State has spent between N640 and N800 million on COVID-19 tests, Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, said when he gave update, yesterday.

Since the first index case in February, the state has tested 16,000 samples at between N40,000 and N50,000 each.

“Regarding the testing, we so far have performed 16,000 tests in Lagos, which is much higher than anywhere else in Nigeria, and we’re planning to continue to test up to about a thousand tests a day,” he said.

“So, in the next month or two, we’re going to be ramping up our capacity to test. How much does it cost to test? Well, for now, the government is providing testing free of charge and the government pays about N40,000 to N50,000 per test.

“But to ramp up our testing, we’re going to try and use some means of subsidising those tests, either through insurance or through some contributions from donors or from developmental partners to help us to subsidise the tests.

“For now, the state government is providing COVID-19 testing free of charge and all citizens who need to be tested for COVID-19 because they are not feeling well, or they’ve had a close contact, can get that test free of charge at any of our COVID-19 testing sites in the four laboratories.”

He disclosed that the state is currently using 50 per cent to 70 per cent bed space capacity even as he appealed to Lagosians with COVID-19 symptoms to present early at the health facilities as it increases their chances of survival.

Abayomi said more COVID-19 cases should be expected in the state in the next few weeks due to wrapped up testing and the diversification of samples collection centres

He said: “A second wave of infection is likely to occur like it is happening in China presently. The second wave is not always as serious as the first outbreak. However, there are plans to validate rapid testing to increase case detection.

“Over 75 to 80 per cent of people who catch the virus will recover from it. There was an on-going research to find out why the disease was not as serious in Lagos as it is in other countries of the world where higher fatalities are recorded.

“For these reasons, the state is about to roll out chloroquine trials in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO). The traditional medicine board is working hard on home remedies in form of dietary supplements.”

Senior Special Adviser to the Governor, Dr. Oreoluwa Finnh advised on the need for moderate to mild exercise use of ginger, garlic and a few other species for home care.

“The state government has also indicated interest in home isolation system as it has remained the epicenter of the diseases with 2,970 confirmed cases, 2,261 active cases.”

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