Firms, banks, others may demand Covid-19 test results before resumption, says Commissioner

*Okays N50,000 fee for virus tests in private labs
*Says demand could exceed 4,000 daily


Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi has said that citizens might be requested to present COVID-19 test rsults to confirm status periodically, as part of requirements for returning to work.
The commissioner explained that testing is part of the regulatory requirements for selected industries like the food and beverage industry, local & international travel requirements, requirements for resuming school and admission into hospital.
Consequently, the state government has approved between N40,000 and N50,000 cost of Covid-19 tests in private laboratories to boost the testing capacity of the state for the pandemic, saying that the demand for the tests could exceed 4,000 daily following the rising cases of community transmission in the local governments.
Speaking during the inclusion of the public-private consortium into the management of the pandemic in the state on Tuesday, Abayomi said there was a need to expand testing, especially in areas that are most affected by community transmission of the virus.
He listed the private laboratories included for the management of Covid-19 screening and tests as: Total Medical Services, SynLab, 54 Gene, Medbury medical Services, Biologix Medical Services, 02 Medical Services and Clina Lancent Laboratories.
Speaking on the demand for COVID-19 testing in the community, the commissioner opined that citizens will request for such results; to confirm status periodically, as part of requirements for returning to work, regulatory requirements for selected industries
“We expect demand for tests from the following industries: individuals in the informal sector, banking and finance, manufacturing, food and beverages, schools, aviation industry, fast moving consumer goods, hospitality amongst others. Based on the projected cumulative demand from the above, we believe that demand for COVID-19 tests could exceed 4,000 per day in the next six months,” he said.
The commissioner said that the cost of the test at the private facilities is not expected to exceed N50,400, saying that the cost ranges from N40,000 to N50,000 for those who want to undergo the test in the private facilities. He added that testing still remains free in government facilities.

Abayomi disclosed that a key element in the next phase of the state’s response strategy is to expand diagnostic testing to strategically ensure a larger number of people have access to COVID-19 testing, adding that the state government has developed an inclusive strategy that aims to harness the public and private sectors to rapidly expand the state’s capacity to meet the growing demand for testing in the next stage of the biosecurity road map.
He said: “We recognise the need to expand our testing, especially to the local government areas that are most affected by the community transmission of the virus and as Lagos State continuously manages the public crises caused by COVID-19, it simultaneously attempts to open up various aspects of its economy. Both efforts make it imperative that COVID-19 tests are widely available to members of the public.”
The commissioner, while noting that the accredited private laboratories will carry out only PCR tests, stated that the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits (RDT) remains illegal in Lagos until the state government can validate RDT kits that work.
Earlier in his presentation, the Director Lagos State Bio-Bank, Dr. Bamidele Mutiu explained that the accredited private laboratories were identified to have the equipment and expertise to test for COVID-19 within the parameters of the testing strategy





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