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FG converts 300 Gene Xpert machines to test Covid-19

By Hassan Zaggi

The Federal Government has concluded plans to convert and deploy the over 300 Gene Xpert machines in the country to the testing of Covid-19.

This is in an effort to expand the scope and provided more centres for the testing of Covid-19 in the country.

Gene Expert machines are used for the testing of Tuberculosis (TB).

As at March 31, 2020, Nigeria has recorded 135 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Nigeria, of which 81 are in Lagos, 25 in the FCT, 8 in Oyo, 4 in Ogun, 3 in Kaduna, 2 in Bauchi, 2 in Edo, 5 in Osun, 2 in Enugu, and one each in Benue, Ekiti and Rivers.”

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this at a media briefing Tuesday, in Abuja.

“Within the next 2 or 3 weeks, the over 300 Gene Xpert machines that are used for tuberculosis diagnosis will be converted to be used for COVID-19 detection,” he stressed.

He further explained that plans have been concluded to get about 1000 bed capacity in the Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to be used as isolation centres.

“Training is ongoing for medical personnel to support overall preparedness and treatment.

“We are preparing about 1,000 beds in Abuja, to be used immediately as isolation centres if the need arises.

“The capacity to increase bed space is present. Resources for the procurement of required commodities have been provided.

“More testing sites have been opened in Ibadan and Abakaliki, while existing laboratories are being optimized in their performance.

“With new additions to the case definition, persons with fever and either cough or difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath in the areas of high COVID-19 prevalence can be tested for the disease.

“More laboratories will join the network of molecular diagnostic laboratories for COVID-19 in Kaduna, Kano, Maiduguri, Port Harcourt and Sokoto.”

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