By Solomon Asowata
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has recommended the use of antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDT) for offshore workers in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
The DPR made the recommendation Wednesday in a circular to oil and gas industry operators and all industry service providers on managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The circular stated that the World Health Organization had granted emergency use authorization for two Ag-RDTs which were SD Biosensor and Abbott with sensitivity greater than 80% and specificity greater than 97%.
According to the circular, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) subsequently approved their use in Nigeria, as outlined in the guidelines for the use of approved COVID-19 Ag-RDTs published in January 2021.
Therefore, the DPR, through this circular, advises operators and service providers to start using these approved Ag-RDTs.
“This in an attempt to address the financial implications and psychological impacts on staff due to the current practice of mandatory 710 day isolation to and from offshore / remote locations.
“AG-RDTs can usually be performed within a short timeframe of 10 to 30 minutes by trained medical personnel,” the circular said.
He further advised them to adhere to NCDC guidelines.
“All positive Ag-RDT results should be interpreted as positive results; counseling, isolation and national case management guidelines should be followed.
“For an asymptomatic case or a high-risk contact who tests negative on Ag-RDT, a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction test becomes mandatory to rule out COVID-19,” the circular said.
He added that all operators and service providers should adhere to NCDC guidelines in using the COVID-19 Testing Self-Report Case Investigation Form.
The circular also directed them to submit monthly summary reports of test results to the DPR to monitor industry performance in this regard.
“While hoping for the imminent end of this global pandemic and a swift return to normal operations, rest assured that DPR will continue to support your businesses and facilitate business continuity in the best national interest,” he said. (NOPE)
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