Following recent fivepostive cases of Covid-19 recorded in Akwa Ibom as tested by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the state government on Thursday has demanded fresh test.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong said there was “a disturbing breach in the test and reporting procedure”.
While speaking to newsmen after a meeting with the State Incident Management Committee at the Government House in Uyo, Ukpong said: “Akwa Ibom State Government only heard about the test results in the news.
“The Director-General of NCDC was not aware of the reported result announcement.
“All five reported positive test cases have been contacted and they have shown no COVID-19 symptoms.
“While the tests were being processed in NCDC approved test facilities, all suspected cases were held in isolation.
“Several sample batches have been previously sent for testing from Akwa Ibom State and they all returned negative.
Reacting to the development, NCDC Director-General Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, speaking at the Presidential Task Force Briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja, said a team had been deployed to the state to provide support.
Reacting to the state’s statement, Dr Ihekweazu said there was no reason for Akwa Ibom to dispute the validity of the results.
“I just read the press release of the Commissioner for Health in Akwa Ibom State, and I think it’s a little bit unfortunate because there was some delay in reporting the results to him.
“These tests were done of the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital. This is our oldest and most experienced lab in carrying out Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnosis. So, there is no reason to dispute the validity of these results.
“We must focus on the challenge on our hands; every new case in a new state always leads to a little bit of anxiety and people need time to accept these results and what they are.
“But they are what they are and I have no reason to doubt the results coming out from any of our labs, especially the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital.
“After every positive case, we will retest anyway after three to four days because the only way you can know whether people are recovering or not is by retesting them. So, that will be done.
“This is not the time to dispute and doubt especially within government but to come together. It is not the time to release press statements against other government bodies.
“So, this is my appeal to every state. There is no reason why anyone would give results without verifying.
“We are working very hard to make sure that these results are correct; sometimes, we delay in releasing these results, and we get a lot of complaints of why the results are taking so long. It is because the tests are being repeated so that we can be very sure.
“But if there is one lab in Nigeria that I can almost be 100 per cent sure on the validity of their test, of course, there can always be a mistake, but to have mistakes in five results in a lab like Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, will be very unlikely.
“I would like to call on everyone to have confidence in what we are doing. Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital is not an NCDC-owned lab, but one that we support to make sure that the testing is done appropriately.”
Governor Udom Emmanuel yesterday announced a 14-day lockdown of the state, placing a restriction order movements and banning all social events.
The step followed the confirmation of five Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases of the in Southsouth state.
According to the governor, the lockdown became necessary to enable a thorough process of contact tracing to identify those who may have been exposed to the five confirmed victims.