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March 1, 2021

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COVID-19: Why we suspended daily testing updates

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The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the agency stopped providing daily updates on testing for the coronavirus so as to ensure accurate reporting.

For about two weeks now, the agency has been publishing the numbers of samples tested only on weekly basis.

However, in response to PREMIUM TIMES‘s enquiries, the NCDC boss said the test data is now shared weekly to reduce the pressure on the laboratories.

“The daily numbers are still sent to NCDC from the over 80 labs across the country. Our Data Team reviews these numbers to avoid duplicates for accurate reporting,” his response read.

He stated that by changing the frequency of public reporting from daily to weekly, the agency is improving the quality of data while ensuring laboratories can focus primarily on the testing.

As of the time of filing this report, Nigeria has conducted over 1,400,000 tests since it recorded its index case in February last year.

Of the number tested so far, 146, 354 came back positive, 121, 193 have recovered and had been discharged, while 1753 persons have died of COVID-19 complications.

Addressing the issue of delayed reports from states on some days, Mr Ihekweazu said the delays are with harmonising and analysing data at the state level.

For instance, Sunday updates from Lagos State, the epicentre of the pandemic in Nigeria, was not reported until noon on Monday.

“Lagos has a high number of cases and the highest number of laboratories in any single state. Given our commitment to ensuring accurate reporting to Nigerians, we are prioritising quality over speed,” Mr Ihekweazu said.

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