Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan has warned that except there is aggressive testing for COVID-19, efforts by the Nigerian Government and other African nations may fail in containing the spread of the dreaded virus.
According to Jonathan, the lockdown in place in parts of the African continent may amount to nothing if tests are not aggressively carried, adding, that there was an urgent need for stronger economies and international agencies like the World Health Organisation to support the efforts of Nigeria and other African nations towards procuring the necessary equipment, and kits to enable them conduct aggressive COVID-19 testing.
The former President also appealed to international financing and donor agencies as well as creditor nations to consider granting economic palliatives including debt relief, to help weaker nations cope with the economic difficulties brought upon them by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze on Monday, Jonathan made the calls while speaking as a panelist in an international web-based conference organised by the Universal Peace Federation.
“It is true that many African nations are observing lockdown of cities and maintaining isolation centres, but if there is no effective testing, locking down populations as currently obtainable in many African countries may not be very effective.
“The key thing is that Africa is in dire need of testing kits. The world should come to the aid of Africa by sending more of these kits and other needed equipment to make the fight against COVID-19 more meaningful. Restrictions without strong and aggressive testing will not be impactful.
“We plead that WHO needs to come to the aid of African countries to enable them to procure the necessary kits to enable them to conduct aggressive testing now that many cities are locked down”, the statement quoted Jonathan as saying.