About 18 months after Nigeria recorded the index case of the deadly coronavirus, only 1.4 per cent of the nation’s population have been tested despite the third wave of the disease propelled by the highly infectious Delta strain.
This is as data obtained on Sunday from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control revealed that seven states out of the 36 states of the federation had stopped testing since September 1, 2021.
The data from the NCDC also revealed that 110 deaths were reported between September 1 and September 11, 2021.
The NCDC revealed on its website that 735,573 tests were conducted between January 10 and April 11.
But between April 11 and July 11, a total of 521,738 were conducted, representing a reduction of 213,835 (29.08 per cent).
Between July 11 and September 11, a total of 505,239 tests were also conducted.
As of January 10, a total of 1,121,484 COVID-19 tests had been conducted in the country, while 1,857,057 tests had been conducted as of April 11.
While 1,857,057 were conducted as of April 11, the figure rose to 2,378,795 as of July 11.
The total count as of September 11 stood at 2,884,034, signifying that only 1.45 per cent of the population have been tested.
States that have been sending updates regularly include Lagos, Federal Capital Territory, Rivers, Kaduna, Plateau, Oyo, Edo, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Kano, Kwara, Delta, Osun, Enugu, Nasarawa, Gombe, Katsina, Anambra, Abia and Imo.
Others are Ekiti, Bauchi, Benue, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Taraba, Niger, Jigawa and Cross River.
The seven states that have not sent any update in the past 10 days are Borno, Ebonyi, Sokoto, Kebbi, Yobe, Zamfara are Kogi.
It was learnt that no single COVID-19 infection had been reported in these states since July despite the rising number of cases. This may imply that the total number of cases recorded in Nigeria is far from the reality.
Expert faults states, says testing low
But a Professor of Medical Virology at the University of Maiduguri, Marycelin Baba, in an interview with The PUNCH, faulted state governments for not stepping up to the task of providing a true picture of the COVID-19 situation.
Baba, who also criticised the low rate of testing, noted that the total number of fully vaccinated citizens in the country was also a cause of concern.
She said “The states involved are not doing the right thing. The reason you see most people being careless is because they feel that the cases are too low, but how are we going to know if the cases are high or low when some stares are probably not testing and sending results?
“I believe the state governments should step up and let the true picture of things be revealed. And having just 1.4 per cent of the population tested is really poor. It is not as if we are doing well in vaccination.
“This means we have to worry about the low percentage of testing and the low percentage of vaccination. This is really poor.”
Active cases surpass 10,000
Information from the NCDC on Sunday also revealed that as of September 11, 2021, the total number of active cases in the country was 10,038.
This is as the NCDC stated that it had recorded 198,796 confirmed cases with 186,169 discharged, while 2,590 individuals lost their lives. ,,