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COVID-19: 80 passengers test positive, FG fears spike in cases as schools reopen

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Tuesday said 80 international travellers tested positive when a repeat test was conducted on them after their arrival in the country.

The Federal Government has also expressed fears that there might be a spike in COVID-19 positive cases as schools and businesses reopen in the country.

The National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu disclosed this on Tuesday at the briefing of the PTF, while justifying the repeat COVID-19 test being conducted on international travellers after seven days of their arrival to the country.

According to him, a significant number of 80 out of the 2,403 tests carried out when the exercise began turned out to be positive, adding that this was despite the fact that the travelers who tested positive arrived in the country with a negative PCR test.

“Of the 2,403 passengers that were tested in Lagos when we started the exercise, 80 were positive. Meanwhile, they had negative COVID-19 PCR test,” he said.

He further said that the repeat test would have been unnecessary if the country had “a system of enforcement of isolation such that everybody coming into the country self-isolated effectively for two weeks.”

He however warned foreign travelers to pay to only laboratories on the travel portal of the government for their repeat tests.

Read also: COVID-19: NCDC warns against virus explosion, decries inadequate testing

“No Federal Government agency is receiving these funds. The negotiation for the cost is between the state governments and the private labs themselves.

“The charges range between N35,600 for the Kano portal which we are just about to operationalise to N50,400 for Lagos.”

Also, on Tuesday at the PTF briefing, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, raised fears about a possible surge in the number of COVID-19 cases unless there would be a scale-up surveillance and review of its response plan to integrate new ways to deal with the disease.

He however said the number of active cases had continued to drop as it revised the discharge criteria in line with new knowledge of the disease.

Ehanire said: “As business and schools begin to open and as travels begin to pick up, we fear that we may have a surge in the number of cases unless we scale up surveillance and review our response plan to integrate new ways to deal with the disease.”

The minister also appealed to state governments “to continue to ensure that we step up case findings, sample collection and testing.

“A total of 58,460 confirmed cases have been recorded as of today, September 29, 2020 with 49,895 cases treated and discharged. This result is from a total of 509,555 persons tested for COVID-19.

“Sadly, the number of deaths as a result of the disease has since crossed the 1,100 mark with 1,111 deaths recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory..”

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