The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says there will be partnerships between state governments and private firms in a bid to ramp up testing and tracing of novel coronavirus cases.

This is inevitable as international flights resume this month.

International flights will make a return to Nigeria’s airspace from August 29.

Domestic and local flights shuttered operations on March 23 as one in a raft of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

State governments are responsible for testing and tracing COVID-19 cases. However, the influx of travelers will increase the pressure on already stretched health authorities and facilities.

NCDC personnel at work (Punch)
NCDC personnel at work (Punch)

Reuters reports that Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous state and epicentre of the outbreak in the country, has 200 tracers for a population of 25 million - fewer than one per 100,000 people, compared with around 14 per 100,000 in Turkey for example.

NCDC Director General Chikwe Ihekweazu said talks have been held with private companies over possible partnerships on testing and tracing in some states.

“Private-public models are being looked at. Lagos and Abuja are the primary locations, and from that we’ll learn what to do for the other three international airports,” Ihekweazu told Reuters, without disclosing the companies involved.

Most of the travelers flying into Nigeria from abroad will be expected to contribute financially towards their tests, since they made a decision to travel.