The Federal Government is considering partnerships between the state governments and private firms to increase testing capacity and tracing of coronavirus cases in the country.
This is due to the expected influx of travellers into the country following the announcement of the resumption of international flight operations from August 29, 2020.
This revelation was made by the Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, during a telephone interview with Reuters.
The influx of travellers will increase the pressure on the already stretched authorities in the country who have been battling to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease which has seen Nigeria record over 50,000 reported cases with almost 1,000 deaths. Ihekweazu noted that the state governments are responsible for testing and contact tracing.
The NCDC boss disclosed that discussions have been held with private companies over possible partnerships on testing and tracing in some states.
Ihekweazu said, ‘’Private-public models are being looked at. Lagos and Abuja are the primary locations, and from that, we’ll learn what to do for the other three international airports.’’
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However, he did not disclose the names of the companies involved. He also said that those international passengers may be expected to make financial contributions towards the tests that will be carried out on them since they were the ones who made the decision to travel.
Lagos, which has the busiest international airport and Nigeria’s largest state, is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. It presently has 200 tracers for a population of about 25 million, this is less than one person per 100,000 people, compared to about 14 persons per 100,000 people in Turkey