BY ABAH ADAH, Abuja
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has approved the use of Antigen-based Rapid Diagnostic Tests (Ag-RDTs) for offshore workers in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry.
According to a statement siged by the head of public affairs, Mr Paul Osu, the regulator of the Nigerian oil and gas industry disclosed this yesterday in a Circular to Oil and Gas Industry Operators and All Industry Service Providers on the Management of COVID-19 pandemic.
The circular noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) for two Ag-RDTs-SD Biosensor and Abbott with over 80 per cent sensitivity and above 97 per cent specifity.
It also stated that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has subsequently approved their use in Nigeria as contained in the Guidance for the Use of Approved COVID-19 Ag-RDTs released in January, 2021.
”Consequently, the DPR is by this circular, advising operators and service providers to commence the use of these approved Ag-RDTs with the aim of addressing the cost implications and psychological impacts on staff due to the current practice of mandatory 7 to 10 days isolation to and from offshore/ remote locations.
“Ag-RDTs can typically be conducted within a short turnaround time of 10 to 30 minutes by medical personnel with the requisite training, “ the circular noted, urging them to adhere to the NCDC Guidelines.”
“All Ag-RDTs positive results should be interpreted as positive results: Counselling, isolation and national case management guidelines should be adhered to.
“For asymptomatic case or a high-risk contact who tests negative on Ag-RDT, a PCR confirmation test becomes mandatory to rule out COVID-19,” the circular said.
It further directed that all operators and service providers are to comply with the NCDC guidelines in the use of COVID-19 testing self-reporting case investigation form (CIF) and that
they are to submit monthly returns of summary of test results to the DPR for the monitoring of industry performance in this regard.
“Whilst hoping for the imminent end of this global pandemic and early return to normal operations, please be rest assured that DPR will continue to support your business and facilitate continuity of operations in national interest,” DPR assured.