As the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research begins a free screening for COVID-19 on March 30 in Lagos, only invited individuals will be tested.
Prof. Babatunde Salako, the Director-General of the institute, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in a telephone interview in Lagos.
Salako said the COVID-19 screening was the institute’s plan to support the effort of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
NAN reports that the director-general had earlier on his Twitter handle announced that the institute would carry out free COVID-19 testing beginning on Monday.
He tweeted: “The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research begins free screening for Covid-19 on Monday, March 30,2020.
“Kindly visit our Website for appointment if you fall into categories of those who need the test, especially if you have come in contact with suspected case.”
Salako told NAN: “The COVID-19 screening that will start next week is our own way of supporting the fight against the prevention and continuous spread of COVId-19 in the country.
“We have come up with a form on our website (Nimr.gov.ng) and only those that meet the criteria to be tested will be invited to come for the screening.
“Those that have come in contact with a confirmed case, those that have a travel history from countries presently battling with the virus and those with symptoms that are related to the virus.
“We don’t want a situation where the screening centre will be overcrowded so that we can maintain the required social distancing.
“So, those that will be coming will be given appointment online, results will be sent through mails, while any confirmed case will be reported to NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.”
Salako said only 25 individuals would be tested daily, adding that the number could be increased later.
He added: “For a start, we will be screening only 25 people in order not to overwhelm our laboratory technicians, and the result will take 24 hours.
“But as time goes on, we may increase the number of people, depending on how things turn out.
“We might replicate this in some parts of Lagos or even the country as time goes on.”
Salako, however, commended Lifebank, led by Temie Giwa-Tubosun, for partnering with the institute on COVID-19.
NAN report that NIMR was established in 1977 to conduct research on diseases of public health importance in Nigeria.