Omicron: Nigerian states resume testing, demand funds.

State Government have said they will resume mass testing for covid 19 following the discovery of the Omicron variant virus.

Top government officials in states including Cross River, Benue, Delta and Akwa Ibom  who disclosed this in separate interviews with The PUNCH, said funding is going to be a big challenge. They are seeking the assistance of the federal government in funding of communities laboratories and test running.

On Thursday, Cross River State said it had begun community testing in the wake of  the discovery of the Omicron variant.The state Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu, disclosed this to one of our correspondents on  in Calabar.

She  stated, “We have already resumed community sample collection and massive vaccination. However, vaccine hesitancy and high cost of running molecular laboratories have been part of our challenges.”

She added that the state had already requested the Federal Government’s assistance in that regard.

Also, the Benue State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Professor Joseph Ngbea, said that the state had stepped up  the testing rate.

The commissioner,  who spoke punch correspondents on the phone, said that the state action committee on COVID 19 had evolved a new strategy to test people  following the discovery of the new variant.

He explained that the state had continued to fund the COVID19 committee, which had started going to churches, mosques, schools and internally displaced persons’ camps to conduct the test. He said, “We have stepped up testing capacity of people for COVID 19 in  Benue and we are very high now. We target  schools and churches and some people who want to be tested do send for us and we do meet them and get them tested.”

He called on the Federal Government to increase budget for research to be able to tackle the spread of COVID -19.

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