Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says the only way to understand the scale of COVID-19 is by testing.
He had earlier said Kogi, Yobe and Cross River, the three states yet to record any case of COVID-19, had not sent in enough samples for tests.
Kogi government had dismissed his comments, describing it as unfair and an attempt to shame the state.
The state also said it was already using a self-assessment app for checking for COVID-19 cases in the state.
But reacting at the presidential task force briefing on Wednesday, Ihekweazu said viruses are not written on the forehead and only tests could show if anyone is infected.
“I won’t join issues with any executive governor of any state in Nigeria. I think I have made my position very clear yesterday. My role is to interpret the evidence the best way we can. This is not only about COVID-19, when we urge people to go for HIV testing, it is because nobody has written HIV on his forehead,” he said.
“The only way you can know whether you have this virus in the early days is to get tested. The way we talk about it, we’ve had the largest number of Lassa fever cases in Nigeria ever. We have it because we’ve become more aware, we are testing more and we are finding more.
“The only way we can understand the scale of COVID-19 is by testing. So, it’s really not a controversial issue, everybody has agreed on that fact, we are pushed everyday to test more. I don’t think my comments were controversial, my role is to continue supporting every state in Nigeria with labs, opportunities to test.
“Most states in Nigeria are asking us, pushing us; how do I get a lab, how do I test more people and we will continue to do this on behalf of every state.”
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