Fake COVID-19 test results on sale in Lagos, commissioner cries out

Lara Adejoro

The Lagos Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has raised the alarm over alleged sale of fake COVID-19 test results in the state.

Speaking at a briefing in Alausa on Monday, Abayomi said international travellers in the state are gaining access to fake COVID-19 results.

He, however, said the state government was putting machinery in place to apprehend those doing such unscrupulous businesses.

He also said that there had been an increase in positive COVID-19 cases from inbound travellers.

“Positivity for inbound travellers is on the rise as Nigerians in Diaspora return to spend Christmas in Lagos.

“It has come to our attention that a number of people are patronising individuals that sell fake COVID-19 [test] results.

“We are currently putting in processes [machinery] to identify both buyers and sellers and we will not hesitate to prosecute them,” he said.

He disclosed that one of the strategies adopted in response to the recent increase in COVID-19 infection is the provision of a permanent sample collection triage and oxygen therapy centre in 10 LGAs across Lagos to support patients with oxygen before they are transferred to care centres.

According to the commissioner, isolation centres are almost empty, while “death rate has dropped dramatically” in the state.

Speaking further, he said 16 percent of the COVID-19 cases currently in the state were severe cases, while one percent are in critical condition.

Abayomi also said 48 percent of COVID-19 patients in the state have very mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.

He said some of the asymptomatic patients do not know they are carrying the virus.

He urged Lagosians who have symptoms of the virus to visit any of the testing centres in the state.

“Don’t waste your time treating yourself at home. Just take yourself to where the tests are [being] carried out.

“If you have symptoms like shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, loss of appetite, weakness, do not treat yourself, get professional help, or come to our centres.

“Let’s remember we are in a pandemic, where the virus is spreading quickly.

“If you have any of these symptoms, it is likely to be COVID-19 and less likely to be malaria or typhoid, or anything else. Don’t waste your time treating yourself for something else.

“Just find your way to one of our laboratories or sample collection sites. And let us confirm whether indeed you have COVID-19, then we can look for other things.

“But if you wait for other things to work before you come for your COVID-19 test, and you are in the severe to the critical category, this is where we always have problems. You arrive at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, in a very sick state, we have to spend a lot of time and energy to try and get you better,” he said.

He urged Lagosians to adhere to the COVID-19 precautionary measures.

“Wear your masks in public to protect people around you. If you’re standing, keep your distance. Tell people who are standing close to you to keep their distance. It’s no time for mass gatherings,” the commissioner said.

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