PTF to launch verification platform for COVID-19 results as Nigeria records 29 cases of UK variant

The Presidential Task Force on Control of COVID-19 said Monday that it will roll out a verification platform next week to check the originality of results from anywhere in the world.

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who disclosed this at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force in Abuja, said Nigeria is embarrassed by the increasing number of fake COVID-19 results in Nigeria and other countries.

He said there was the need for private laboratories conducting COVID-19 tests to join the platform in order to have their data checked and properly managed or lose their COVID-19 test right.

“The PTF is aware of the report of syndicates at some international airports outside Nigeria, who specialize in providing fake results to innocent Nigerians who are traveling back home.

“While investigating the matter and working on its relevant authorities including the countries in which these syndicates operate to make sure that these guys are nipped in the bud, I will like to reiterate that it is the responsibility of any passenger returning to Nigeria, to ensure that they are tested before they start returning. You cannot be given a negative result when you samples have not be taken, please understand this and comply.

“It is important to note that on arrival here, if you have a fake result, you will be quarantined in any of our facilities and you will bear the expenses of the facility, feeding and the lab test and after that you are also liable to prosecution,” he said.

Ihekweazu also disclosed that Nigeria has now confirmed 29 cases of the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant within its borders. He said the variant was first detected in the United Kingdom and has since spread to other parts of the world.

The NCDC DG explained that the new variant has spread across six states in Nigeria.

“We have now confirmed a total of 29 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant and this has been confirmed in Edo, Kwara, Lagos, Osun, Oyo and FCT,” Dr Iheakwazu said.

He commended scientists working at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), at the Redeemers University in Ede, Osun state, for efforts in detecting the variants.

He said the infectious disease centre will continue to scale genomic surveillance as it is very likely more cases of the variant will be detected.

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