Katsina Govt Spends N157 Million For COVID-19 Tests

A file photo of Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari.



The Katsina Government has spent N157,750,000 for COVID-19 tests in the state.

These tests were conducted from May 31st, 2020 to date on 10,000 suspected cases of COVID-19 at a private medicare laboratory centre accredited by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

This amount is in addition to other costs on patients care, welfare packages and allowances for staff who manning the four major isolation centres in the state.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Confirms 125 Fresh COVID-19 Infections As Recoveries Near 43,000

The state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Home Affairs, Abdulkareem Sirika who disclosed this at the Government House, in Katsina on Thursday, said every test costs the state government N15,750.

The Commissioner while revealing that the amount paid to Sahel Medicare was in addition to other costs from patients care and staff allowances, said 11,314 samples have been collected cumulatively with 675 repeats and follow-ups.

As at 2nd September 2020, the Commissioner announced that 800 positive cases have been recorded in the state with 24 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in the state.

Sirika further announced that 9,601 results were recorded as negative, stressing that only Dandume Local Government is yet to return a COVID-19 positive result.

He explained that samples from local governments are being tested for confirmation, adding that Katsina is currently ranked at the 16th position among the 36 states with the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, describing it as remarkable as at the initial stage, the state was ranked number four.

He announced that activities on risk communication are being shared through social media platforms such as sending texts, video clips and dummies.

Others he said, include weekly mosques and churches announcements and regular radio and television live discussion programmes by the risk communication members.

Sirika further said that the state government has intensified sensitisation on coronavirus by local government area health teams in collaboration with information units, National Orientation Agency (NOA), traditional and religious institutions in the 34 local governments in the state.

He revealed that there are three fixed sample collection centres in the state that include Maternal and Child Health Clinic in Kofar Guga, Federal Medical Centre and General Amadi Rimi Specialist Hospital.

The Commissioner said in the other local governments, rapid response teams such as laboratory personnel were present and positioned to handle likely cases of COVID-19.

“Case finding through contact tracing will be a continuous exercise, stressing that all residents of Katsina state that meet up the criteria for testing have their samples collected and tested free of charge,” he said.

He assured that confirmed positive cases would continue to be admitted and treated for free in designated isolation centres.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary at the state Ministry of Health, Dr Kabir Mustapha announced that out of the 11,000 samples, only about 95 per cent had symptoms and among those that had symptoms, reliably not more than 20, showed severe symptoms.

“Our biggest challenge is that most of the patients that were admitted will tell you that they are hale and hearty, therefore, they don’t want to stay in the isolation centres,” Mustapha added.

“The total number of personnel that were infected at the health centre is 75 and the majority of them did not exhibit any symptoms.”

Trump Never Told Officials To Slow COVID-19 Testing – Fauci

Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine COVID-19, "focusing on lessons learned to prepare for the next pandemic", on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on June 23, 2020. KEVIN DIETSCH / POOL / AFP
Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine COVID-19. KEVIN DIETSCH / POOL / AFP


US disease expert Anthony Fauci told Congress Tuesday that Donald Trump never told him or other officials to curb coronavirus testing, essentially contradicting the president who told supporters he had urged such slowdown.

“None of us have ever been told to slow down on testing,” Fauci told a House panel on US efforts to mitigate the pandemic, adding that “in fact, we will be doing more testing” instead of less.

READ ALSO: China Launches Final Satellite To Complete Rival To GPS

Trump raised alarm bells Saturday when he told a Tulsa campaign rally — where most attendees were not wearing masks or following social distancing guidelines — that testing is a “double-edged sword,” and that he had told his experts to “slow the testing down.”


Fresh Test For Wuhan As Cluster Sparks Mass COVID-19 Screening

A medical worker takes a swab sample from a student to be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus as senior students prepare to return to school in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on May 14, 2020. STR / AFP) / China OUT.


Nervous residents of China’s pandemic epicentre of Wuhan queued up across the city to be tested for the coronavirus on Thursday after a new cluster of cases sparked a mass screening campaign.

Lines of socially distanced people formed at makeshift testing sites set up under tents in parking lots, parks and residential communities as it rained in the metropolis of 11 million people.

“This is a good thing. It’s a way to be responsible toward others and to yourself,” a 40-year-old man told AFP after completing the process.

He had already been tested 10 days before but given Wuhan’s history as the source of the virus and China’s worst-hit city, he welcomed a little extra insurance.

The man added: “If you have the opportunity, wouldn’t you do it again?”

The previously unknown contagion emerged in Wuhan late last year, prompting the Chinese government to impose a tight lockdown on the city on January 23, isolating the industrial and transport centre from the rest of the country and confining residents to their homes.

More than 3,800 people have died from COVID-19 in the city, accounting for the vast majority of fatalities in China.

The quarantine was only fully lifted in early April, and life is returning to normal.

READ ALSO: World Leaders Demand Free COVID-19 Vaccine For All

But Wuhan was given a fresh jolt when several new local infections emerged last weekend after more than a month in which none were reported.

Fearful of a reliving the virus nightmare, officials have launched a drive to conduct nucleic acid tests on the city’s entire population.

Men, women, children and the elderly filed forward to medical workers in head-to-toe white protective suits and plastic face shields, who recorded their personal details before quickly jabbing a swab into the backs of their throats.

– On edge –

Some remained anxious.

“I know this plan requiring the city to do large-scale testing serves as a basic safeguard. I wasn’t planning to get myself tested,” said a woman who did not give her name.

“But the safety measures inside are really bad. (People) are too close, and the testing person handled a lot of samples from people but I didn’t see him wash his hands.”

China has largely brought the virus under control, but has been on edge recently about a potential second wave of infections as it has lifted lockdowns and restrictions across the country.

Besides the six new Wuhan cases, virus clusters have appeared in recent weeks in the northeastern provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang, which border Russia.

With the virus taking hold in other nations, China has barred most foreigners from entering the country.

Despite the lingering concerns, pandemic-hardened residents of Wuhan have done their best to resume their lives.

Dozens of people kicked up their heels to Chinese folk music on a promenade by the Yangtze River on Wednesday night, shrugging off the concerns of a new wave.

Couples wearing masks pranced under street lamps, with the men leading the women into turns near a bridge lit with huge Chinese characters saying: “Go Wuhan”.

“I’m very happy (to be dancing outside),” said Qiu Jumei, a 53-year-old hotel waitress.

“The atmosphere wasn’t the same when I was at home and dancing alone. It was not fun,” she added. “This is much better.”


Coronavirus Test Touted By Trump Produces Many False Negatives

US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with the Governors of Colorado and North Dakota on May 13, 2020, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)


A rapid coronavirus test touted by President Donald Trump and used to test White House officials produces false negatives in almost half of all cases, according to a new study by researchers at NYU Langone Health.

The test by Abbott Laboratories, which returns positive results in five minutes and negative in 13 minutes, as compared with machines that have a turnaround time of 45 minutes.

The researchers found that the Abbott test produced false negatives about a third of the time when the virus sample is taken using a nasal swab was transported in a liquid solution, and 48 percent of the time when the swab was dry, which is the method recommended by the company.

The results of the study — which has not yet been peer-reviewed and was posted on a medical preprint site — were contested by Abbott, which told AFP it was unclear that the samples were taken correctly.

“Abbott has distributed more than 1.8 million ID NOW tests and the reported rate of false negatives to Abbott is at 0.02 percent,” Scott Stoffel, a spokesman for the company said.

He added that another study from the University of Detroit had found the test to be 98 percent accurate.

The NYU study’s authors said they decided to investigate the test because the speed with which it produced results was seen as useful for their own institution, particularly the medical center’s emergency department.

By comparison, a test made by Roche returns results in 3.5 hours while one by Cepheid takes 45 minutes, and both have similar reliability, said the study authors.

These tests look for the virus’ genetic material and use a method that quickly makes copies to amplify an initially small sample to a level that is detectable.

The authors wrote their study “revealed low sensitivity with high false-negative results by Abbott ID NOW platform,” adding this raised concern about “its suitability as a diagnostic tool for symptomatic patients.”

The test received wide attention when it received regulatory approval and was shown off by Trump at the White House at the end of March.

Testing Capacity For Lagos Currently At 850 Daily – Sanwo-Olu


The Lagos State Government says the current lab testing capacity for the state is 850 persons per day.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed this on Saturday during the state’s COVID-19 briefing.

According to the governor, this testing capacity can, however, be expanded to about 1,500 to 2,000 daily with the availability of adequate extraction kits.

“Our combined lab capacity is at about 850 tests daily.

“This is easily scalable to 1,500 and 2,000 subject to the availability of extraction kits considering the acute global shortage,” he said.

[Read Also] COVID-19: Our Target Is To Test 2000 Samples Daily In Lagos – NCDC DG

To achieve this, the governor said the state has paid for over 20,000 extraction kits and has placed an order for another 20,000 in its bid to test at least 120,000 in the next 60 days.

He also noted that the state has commenced a biweekly procurement of laboratory needs “to prevent running out of these materials going forward, until at least 120,000 tests are done in a about 2 months”.

On Friday, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, had stated that isolation and treatment centres in the country are running out of bed spaces, even as the country records a total of 3,913 cases.

Lagos has remained the epicentre of the virus in the country with a total of 1,667 cases. While the state has also recorded an encouraging number of recoveries (of over 400 persons), there are still concerns about the increasing number of community transmissions.

But the governor, during Saturday’s briefing, assured Lagosians that in addition to the increased testing capacity, “we are also actively increasing our isolation capacity”.

“You will also see a change in our Isolation strategy in the weeks ahead, as we transition towards decentralisation,” he added.

“What this means is that we will be introducing community management of cases, by accrediting and incorporating primary health care facilities and private healthcare facilities for the management of mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 patients”.

The governor also spoke about the collection of accurate data and beyond that, he announced that the state is developing an emergency digital response platform that will help in the collection of data, necessary for informed decisionmaking.

Take Responsibility

Speaking further, he recalled the fact that the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, had on Friday, disclosed that some data estimates had shown that by July, Lagos may record as many as 120,000 cases of the COVID-19.

“That is a projection – it does not necessarily have to be our reality”, he said.

To prevent this from becoming the reality, the governor urged Lagosians to take collective responsibility by adhering to the government’s guidelines even as the lockdown is being eased gradually.

“The only way to ensure that projections do not become reality is taking the projections as a warning, and using them to influence and modify our behaviour towards greater compliance and discipline”.

COVID-19: German Testing Capacity Now 900,000 Weekly

Testers Cameron Robertson (L) and Lena Schaecher pose a testing situation for a photo in a corona screening station in Ebersberg near Munich, southern Germany, on April 29, 2020, amid the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Christof STACHE / AFP


German labs are now able to carry out almost 900,000 tests a week for the novel coronavirus, officials said on Wednesday, as they plan to widen testing among health workers.

“Today, we have a theoretically possible capacity of almost 900,000 tests (per week) in Germany already, as long as the materials for these tests are available,” Health Minister Jens Spahn told reporters in Berlin.

Roughly 470,000 tests were carried out last week, suggesting there is a spare capacity that could help prevent outbreaks among medical staff at hospitals and care homes.

“I think it’s very, very important to see that with what we’ve achieved together in recent weeks, including through the strong lockdown, the biggest risk for an outbreak is in healthcare,” Spahn said.

Tests should be carried out “as comprehensively and preventively as possible” among staff, including in care homes, he said.

Federal law and testing guidelines from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control were being adjusted to reflect these aims, Spahn added.

The RKI estimates that the infection or reproduction rate of the coronavirus in Germany is presently around 0.9, meaning 10 infected people infect nine others.

Such low figures have encouraged federal and regional officials to loosen some elements of the lockdown, including opening smaller shops from last week and sending some pupils back to school from next week.

But new rules including a nationwide requirement to wear a facemask in shops and on public transport have entered into force, in an attempt to prevent a second wave.


COVID-19: NCDC To Establish Infectious Disease Reference Lab In Benue

File photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says it is setting up an Infectious Disease Reference Lab in Benue State.

According to the NCDC Incident Case Manager in the state, Mr Stephen Abba, the move is a new approach to deal with COVID-19, Lassa fever, Tuberculosis and HIV to coordinate response for the region.

He disclosed this on Wednesday during the review meeting of the State COVID 19 Action Committee, following the release of N20m as part of the state counterpart funding for the project.

Speaking also, the Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Committee, Benson Abounu, Benson Abounu, revealed plans of the state government to deport 40 Almajiri to their states of origin.

To the deputy-governor, this follows the reports of the influx of many Almajiri from the far north last week.

COVID-19: NCDC Commences Use Of Cobas System In Abuja


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it has commenced the use of the Cobas system at the National Reference Laboratory for COVID-19 testing.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the agency noted that the deployment will enable it to conduct approximately 980 tests within 8 hours.

“Today, we began the use of the COBAS system at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, for #COVID19 testing Using this, approximately 960 samples can be tested in 8 hours,” it said.

This begins the 2nd prong of our national strategy to integrate lab systems & increase testing capacity

Cobas is a system used for a real-time test aimed at qualitative detection of nucleic acids from swab samples taken from individuals who display symptoms related to COVID-19.

NCDC explained that the use of the Cobas system is the second leg of its national strategy to increase testing and integrate laboratory systems across the country.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has recorded 195 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the country’s total infections to 1,532.

Of the new infections, 80 were recorded in Lagos, 38 in Kano, while 15 were recorded in the Ogun State.

In Bauchi State, 15 cases were recorded, 11 in Borno, 10 in Gombe, Nine in Sokoto, five in Edo and Jigawa, two in Zamfara and one each in Rivers, Enugu, Delta, FCT and Nasarawa.