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Lab scientists, Cross River government differ over COVID-19 test figure


• ‘State 23mw power plant ready for evacuation’
The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Cross River Branch, has raised the alarm over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) free status of the state, saying between February and now, the state has done only 10 sample tests.

But the Commissioner for Health and Chairman, State Taskforce on COVID-19, Dr. Betta Edu, yesterday in a phone chat with The Guardian, debunked this claims, saying: “How can they say only 10 tests have been done? We have done 18 tests so far.”

As the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is making plans to come to the state for test and fact-finding, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), through its President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, faulted claims by the Cross River and Kogi state governments to be coronavirus free, saying the states must ensure that they follow the testing guidelines issued by the NCDC and urged the Federal Government to investigate the claims of the two state governments in the interest of safeguarding Nigeria’s public health.

Chairman, AMLSN, Cross River Branch, Ndem Benedict, while briefing some newsmen yesterday in Calabar, said that since the first case of the pandemic was reported in Nigeria, it was difficult to believe that there were no cases in the state when only 10 persons have been tested out of over four million Cross Riverians.


He said: “So far, since February 27 when the index case was recorded in Nigeria, of the almost 25,000 tests performed in the nation, not more than 10 samples (persons) have been tested from Cross River State to our knowledge. It is difficult to believe that there are no positive cases in the testing as the only way to know this is by aggressive testing.”

Edu said: “People should go and tell the NCDC to bring enough sample test kits. NCDC gave us just 50 sample test kits and instead of the people to go and say give us more sample kits or set up a kit-testing centre here, so that they could be gainfully employed, the blame is being put on us.

“If we exhaust the 50 samples, what will happen next? They should tell the Federal Government to come and set up a lab in Calabar or give us enough sample test kits. Everyday (that is when samples are transported), we spend over N200,000 to go for a test at Urrua passing through rigorous traffic situation and this is not good for us.”

Edu said that the state would receive the NCDC team members whenever they are ready but must be quarantined for 14 days and normal test done.

In another development, the Cross River State government said it would soon hook up its 23 megawatts power plant to the national grid through the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) to ensure regular power supply to Calabar metropolis.

The state governor, Ben Ayade, who disclosed this yesterday during an inspection of the plant, said the government was waiting for Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company’s final nod to hook up to its distribution lines.


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