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Why Rivers need more COVID-19 testing centres, by Peterside



Immediate past Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said the rising cases of coronavirus in Rivers State makes it imperative to establish more testing centres.

Peterside made the call as the state recorded 866 cases of COVID-19, stressing that the government should set up more testing centres across the state, even as Governor Nyesom Wike declared lockdown of Bonny and Onne, where some persons have died from COVID-19 and several others infected with the virus.

He said with the state’s financial resources, it was in a position to provide critical facilities for mass testing for adding: “It won’t be out of the place for the Wike-led administration to provide more testing centres across the state.


“We have the resources and manpower to do so, especially as more countries in Europe are easing their lockdown. It means we can quickly reach manufacturers unlike before and get equipment delivered to the state. Many less endowed states than Rivers are already investing in establishing test centres, as it is for the ultimate good of their people.

“All the federal constituencies in the state should have a testing centre in their headquarters, while also encouraging people to have a walk in to be tested like it is being done in many places. The more we are able to test people, the better for us.”

Peterside stressed that the lockdown of Bonny, Onne and even the entire state would make no meaning if aggressive contact tracing was not carried out, stressing that he supported Wike’s decision to lock
down Bonny and Onne to check the spread of the disease.

“I support the lockdown to ensure that we stop the spread of the virus, but doing so without aggressive contact tracing will amount to motion without movement. There must be conscious effort to track all contacts of infected persons, supported by massive testing,” he added.

He appealed to Rivers people to take safety measures seriously, saying that the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the state should be a source of worry and concern to everyone.

Wike had at the weekend said that with 866 positive cases of 2,572 tested persons, the state was gradually becoming the next epicentre of the virus in the South-South zone.

He disclosed that within the period, Rivers State also recorded 30 deaths, including prominent persons, while 356 persons recovered and were discharged from treatment centres.


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