FEC meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.

The Federal Executive Council has approved the sum of N8.49 billion for the procurement of 12 items in various quantities for the testing of coronavirus pandemic by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire disclosed this to State House Correspondents, while briefing them on decisions reached at this week’s virtual cabinet meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said he presented the memo to the council on behalf of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Ehanire said the aim is to help the country address community transmission of the pandemic, which has affected 586 Local Government Areas of the country.

“The Minister of Health presented a memo on behalf of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to procure materials for preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic, which is ravaging every part of the world including our country.

“This is part of the preparedness for community transmission which is going on now and has affected over 586 Local Government Areas and we need the materials so as to be able to expand our testing and diagnostic capabilities.

“This memo is as a result of the Presidential task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and the Special Intervention Funds managed by the PTF, which allocated these resources for the NCDC preparedness,” he said.

The Health Minister said the materials to be procured include sample, and other kits for diagnostics, for use by laboratories.

“We are procuring these materials to be able to respond properly to community transmission phase,” he stressed.

Dr Ehanire said plans have been concluded to have at least one sample collection site in each of the 774 Local Government Areas across the country.

“This is to ensure that persons in rural areas are not excluded and to ensure that not only the big cities or towns are attended to,” the Minister explained. (VON)