Nigeria’s federal government says it has set up three test centres to detect any possible case of coronavirus in the country.
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, made this disclosure on Wednesday after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
The three designated laboratories are in Lagos, Abuja and Irrua in Edo state.
The minister said equipment for the centres were acquired about eight days ago, adding that no case of the virus has been detected in any African country.
“Since about eight days ago, we obtained the reagents necessary; we have the machines. They are called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines which we have here for molecular diagnostics, but we didn’t have the reagents,” Ehanire said.
“Because for every pathogen, you have a specific pathogen that you will use to detect it and that one for coronavirus being a new disease was not very much available but we acquired it about eight days ago.
“And now three laboratories in Nigeria can test coronavirus and in fact, they have tested two cases already which were negative—Lagos, Abuja and Irrua.
“Irrua, as you know is Nigeria’s centre of excellence for this viral hemorrhagic fevers which is the category to which Coronavirus and Lassa fever belong particularly.
“As far as coronavirus is concerned, it is human to human transmission. Maybe we have been lucky that no person carrying that corona has entered our country and none has come here undetected.
“And we are particularly happy that the Chinese government is conducting what is called exit screening. They not only screen those who are entering their country, they screen those who are leaving; so that if they, themselves see any person who has any sign of being sick or having coronavirus, they will restrain that person from travelling.”
The disease, which first broke out in the Wuhan province of China, has infected 42,708 people and claimed 1,017 lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the first vaccine for coronavirus could be ready in 18 months time.