The Nigerian Federal Government has acquired necessary reagents to test for suspected cases of the new corona virus in Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire at a press briefing after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House in Abuja.
The minister also disclosed that Nigeria has set up three laboratories across the country to test suspected patients for the disease.
He said the reagents and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine used in molecular biology to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample were purchased about eight days ago.
“The preparedness is mostly at the airports which are the main points of entry into the country which are Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano and also the fact that all passengers arriving Nigeria are screened by cameras that take your temperature and look at your travel history.
“Since about eight days ago, we obtained a reagent which is necessary; we also have the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines which we have for molecular diagnostics.”
The health minister added : “It is instructive to know that there is no case of coronavirus in Nigeria and there is no case reported in Africa.”
“For coronavirus being a new disease, the equipment was not very much available but we acquired it about eight days ago and now three laboratories in Nigeria can test coronavirus, in fact, they have tested two cases already which were negative. The centres are in Lagos, Abuja and Irrua which is Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence for this viral haemorrhagic fever which is a category to which coronavirus and Lassa fever belong particularly,” he said.
The disease, which first broke out in the Wuhan province of China, has infected 42,708 people and claimed 1,017 lives worldwide.