NIMR Shuts Down COVID-19 Institute After Fresh Outbreak
The free drive-through testing centre for COVID-19 has been suspended on Thursday.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research.
The Director-General of the NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako, told the newsmen.
According to him, the decision was reached because Nigerians were no longer taking the COVID-19 test.
Meanwhile, this development came exactly two days after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control recorded 13 new infections in three regions;
Salako revealed that although 46,000 samples were taken in the last two years, the organisation suffered financial loss trying to sustain the free initiative.
“We folded up the free drive/walk-through centre because only a few people were coming to request COVID-19 testing. More so, we are also running out of funds to maintain free testing having tested over 46,000 individuals in the last two years.”
He also advised Nigerians to be cautious of the pandemic and not let their guards down.
“I am not sure we are out of the woods yet. But we can say that we are on our way out. China is still battling with lockdown due to COVID-19. Remember that the pandemic started from there.
“We need to vaccinate the majority of Nigerians to achieve herd immunity that would see us out of the woods. And for a while, booster doses may be necessary to get us to that level.”
He emphasised the need for Nigeria to monitor the situation of the pandemic with effective surveillance systems. The DG explained that special attention should be paid to travellers to track disease behaviour.
On February 27, 2020, Nigeria recorded its COVID-19 index case. This occurred despite claims that the Federal Government monitored travellers at the airport.
The first case was an Italian businessman who arrived from the worst-hit Italy at the time.
His case was confirmed a week after arrival and at this time contact tracing began with months of several other cases and deaths recorded.
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He was admitted to the Lagos Mainland Hospital in Yaba and was in Isolation. The index case was later discharged after full recovery.
Nigerians were concerned about the effectiveness of airport surveillance. Also, the country’s preparedness to manage the virus was a cause of concern.
Also, the ministry of health acted fast by creating smaller units of COVID-19 testing centres, which included the NIMR free initiative on March 30.
To date, the NCDC has recorded 256,013 COVID-19 cases and 3,186 deaths.
Source: PUNCH Health Wise