The Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this on Thursday in Abuja at the fourth joint national briefing of the Presidential Taskforce Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
Akwa Ibom State Government had earlier rejected the five COVID-19 cases earlier confirmed in the state by the NCDC and called for the re-confirmation of the cases.
The state’s Commissioner of Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, speaking on Thursday at a press conference in Uyo, notes that the five reported positive cases have been contacted but have showed no symptoms of the coronavirus.
The NCDC boss said: “I think it’s a little bit unfortunate; there was some delay in reporting the results to him (Akwa Ibom Commissioner) because the team that lead the lab where these tests were done were actually on their way to Abuja to carry out an important national assignment.
“They test positive and I will say it publicly, that these tests were done in the Irruah Specialist Teaching Hospital.
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“This is our oldest, and most experienced lab in carrying out PCI-diagnosis. So, there is really no reason to dispute the validity of this result.
“We must focus on the challenge at our hand, every new case in a new state always leaves a little bit of anxiety and people need time to accept that these results are what they are. But they are what they are; I have no reason to doubt the result coming out of any of our labs and especially the Irruah Specialist Hospital.
“Yes, they were tested at a specific time; after every positive case, we would re-test anyway, after three-four days because the only way you can know whether people are recovering or not, is by re-testing them, so that would be done,” he said.
He added, “Like I have said over and over and like the chair of the PTF has said, this is not a time to dispute and doubt most especially within government.
“It is a time to come together; it is not a time to release press statements against other government bodies, it is a time to come together. So, this is really an appeal to every state; there is no reason why anybody will give results without verifying.
“Sometimes, we delay in releasing these results and we get a lot of flak why are the test results taking so long. It is because the test is being repeated so that we can be very sure, but if there is one lab in Nigeria that I can almost be 100 percent sure on the validity of their test, it is Irruah.
“There will always be mistakes, but to have mistaken in five results in a lab like Irruah will be very unlikely. I call on everyone to have confidence in the work we are doing.”