Akwa Ibom rejects 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19, asks NCDC to conduct fresh tests

The Akwa Ibom State Government has rejected the coronavirus test results of five confirmed cases in the State, published by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The NCDC had in a recent update shared on its official Twitter page, published that Nigeria now has 174 confirmed cases of COVID-19, out of which Akwa Ibom had recorded its first five cases.

However, the State government countered the result in a series of posts shared on Twitter, stating that a breach was observed in the results given by the NCDC and demanded that new tests be carried out on the five identified patients.

According to the Akwa Ibom State government, the Director General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu was unaware of the published report and the five supposed patients showed no symptoms of COVID-19.

It also submitted that the five cases which have been held in isolation in the state were previously tested by the state government and all tests returned negative.

“Several sample batches have been previously sent for testing from Akwa Ibom state and they all returned negative results.

“Owing to the irregularities observed in the testing and reporting procedure, Health Care Professionals in Akwa Ibom State have called for an immediate re-confirmation test on the five reported cases.



    “Health Care Professionals in Akwa Ibom State have also appealed to the NCDC to ensure that all future tests are conducted following due process in order to maintain continued confidence in the process,” the statement read in part.

    On Thursday, while speaking at the Presidential Task Force COVID-19 briefing, the DG of NCDC, Ihekweazu, explained that the Akwa Ibom tests were carried out at the Irrua Specialist Hospital, which he described as ‘oldest and most experienced test centre’.

    However, Ihekweazu’s confidence in the test centre is not doing enough to convince the state government who has asked that all test be reconducted and the process transparent.

    Meanwhile, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, at a press briefing in Geneva on March 16, said that without early testing of suspected cases of the coronavirus the chain of infection will not be broken.

    Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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