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Lagos spent about N800M on 16,000 COVID-19 tests so far ― Commissioner claims

The Lagos State Government on Thursday, disclosed that it has spent at least N800 million in conducting 16,000 COVID-19 tests in the state.

The state's Commissioner for Health, Professor. Akin Abayomi stated this, while briefing newsmen on COVID-19 weekly situation report, held in Press Centre, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.

Abayomi, while responding to questions from the newsmen, said each COVID-19 test cost between N40,000 to N50,000, while 16,000 tests have been conducted so far fully all expenses pid by the state government. According to him, "We have so far performed 16,000 COVID-19 tests in Lagos, which is much higher than anywhere else in Nigeria.

"We are planning to test up to about 1,000 people per day very soon in the next month or two we are going to be ramping up our capacity to test.

"For now the government is providing testing free of charge and the government pays about N40,000 to N50,000 per test.

"But as we ramp up our testing we are going to try and use some means of subsidy for the test, either through insurance or through some contributions from donors or from development partners to help us to subsidize the test.

"For now the state government is providing COVID-19 testing free of charge and all citizens who need to be tested for COVID-19 either because they are not feeling well or had a close contact can get it done free of charge at any of our COVID-19 testing sites on the four laboratories," the commissioner said. He added that the state government was in the process of conducting clinical trial on hydroxychloroquine and "with the solidarity trial the state is participating in, two months from now we (Lagos) should get information on the drug either as preventive or cure."

Abayomi added that government has listed some of the centres where the hydroxy Chloroquine trials would conducted with consideration for various dietary supplements that can boost or improve the immune system to resist the virus. According to him, the spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lagos was due to the increase in its testing capacity.

"The state government has decentralised sample collection centres with about 20 sample collection sites across the metropolis," he stated.

Abayomi also stated that in order to ramp up testing, the state government has concluded plans to integrate the concept of home-based care of COVID 19, even as he urged residents to be available for test, and warned against stigmatisation of COVID-19 patients.

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