The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said that the steady decrease in Nigeria’s Coronavirus infection rate is due mainly to the decline in testing by states.
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control told Nigerians not to celebrate the decreased positive cases being reported as a flattening of the COVID-19 curve.
Speaking during the PTF briefing on Monday in Abuja, the Head of Disease Surveillance for the NCDC, Elsie Ilori, said: “In the month of August, we had a very low number of samples collected.
“In July, there were seven states with decreased samples collected, but unfortunately, in August, it increased to 32 states with decreased samples collection. In July, we had 13 states that actually collected over 1,000 samples. For August, no state met that target. That means we had zero states collecting over 1,000 samples.
“For the local government areas, in July we had 515 that collected samples and it decreased to 478 in August. We can appreciate the decrease in August.
“In August, states with the biggest increase are Abia (682), Sokoto (331), Bayelsa (314), Zamfara (55) and Yobe (12), but the numbers are not significant at all.
“In the same month, the biggest decrease in sample collection are Kano (19,108), Lagos (13,146), Oyo (4,902), Edo (3,327), and FCT (3,322). August sample collection has decreased drastically.”
Representing NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Ilori added: “Concerning where samples are being collected, in July, in Benue, Ebonyi, FCT, Lagos, Plateau, all the LGA in these states had samples collected, while only in Delta, Edo and Ogun, only one local government area did not collect samples.
“Concerning local government areas that did not collect samples, in July, Kogi had 19 out of 20 local government areas without samples collected. Also in August, no local government in Kogi collected samples. In Katsina, only 24 local government areas collected samples – Jigawa (22), Kano (20), Taraba (16).
“Even though in Lagos all the local government areas are collecting samples, the number of samples collected was quite low. So, that brought down the number of samples collected for August.”
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said: “Our target is to test two million Nigerians for COVID-19 and to scale up to four million persons of which we have achieved barely a quarter.
“In the past 24 hours, we recorded just 138 COVID-19 positive cases in Nigeria, one of the lowest numbers in many months, giving a total of 53,865 positive cases out of 403,347 tests conducted as of August 31, 2020.
“In the same 24-hour period, 199 persons were discharged from hospitals, giving us total successful treatment of 41,513 patients. We are beginning to see a situation where the number of those treated and discharged exceeds the number of positive cases detected. While these figures may seem reassuring, they may be deceptive, and we cannot assume that the curve is flattening, since we are yet to perfect due diligence on our side.
“With a total of 1,013 deaths recorded so far, the fatality rate has also dropped slightly to 1.88 per cent, the gradual fall is possibly an indication of improvement in response and treatment strategies to contain COVID-19 and also a common global trend.
“As long as we still record deaths from this disease, there is no room for complacency until we meet our goal to reduce the fatality rate to less than one per cent”.
The PTF noted that states like Kano, Lagos, Oyo, Edo, and FCT, had the biggest decrease in the number of samples collected in August. Kogi state as a whole did not collect any samples in August.