By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
The Ogun State Government has purchased a molecular laboratory as part of its efforts towards flattening the curve of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The state is also working on reviewing relaxation windows for people of the state during the 14-day lockdown extension recently ordered by the Federal Government.
In a statement on Wednesday, Governor Dapo Abiodun said the molecular laboratory would be unveiled during the period of this lockdown at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Sagamu, where finishing touches are being put to its operationalisation.
The Governor had, while declaring open two Isolation Centres in the state, promised to establish a biomedical laboratory so that tests of suspected cases in the state could be done without going to Lagos, Ede or Abuja.
When unveiled, it will minimise the test turn-around time which currently is between 3-5 days and fast-track the handling of positive cases. It will also reduce the period of apprehension and anxiety for those suspected of infection and their relations.
A molecular laboratory test is essential in the checks for certain genes, proteins, or other molecules in a sample of tissue, blood, or other body fluid and central in the detection and handling of the coronavirus.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), there are five laboratories in the country with the capacity to test for COVID-19 – located in Lagos (2), Ede in Osun State, Edo and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Ogun will be the first state to set up its independent laboratory for the diagnosis of the coronavirus.
Also on Tuesday, in his first official response to the national broadcast of the President, Governor Abiodun enjoined the citizens and residents of Ogun State to endure the 14-day extension of the lockdown in the State.
To strike a delicate balance of need for public safety and welfare of the citizenry, the current window of relaxation of the lockdown in the State from 7.00am to 2.00pm, the Governor said, will follow the same pattern of last week. That is, it will still be available for this Wednesday (15th April) and Friday (17th April, 2020).
However, the Government is reviewing the current window to enable citizens and residents re-stock on food items and conduct essential businesses during the period of the extended lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.