Following the confirmation of five suspected cases of the dreaded coronavirus in Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel, has announced a total cessation of movements and prohibition of all events of any nature for 14 days in the State.
This is to enable a thorough process of contact tracing to identify those who may have been exposed to the five confirmed victims.
In a statewide broadcast Thursday, April 2, 2020, Governor Emmanuel explained that the COVID-19 suspects, mostly healthcare professionals who are in good health with no symptoms, have been moved to the State isolation centers for proper management.
“There will be no movement of persons, except those on essential duties who must carry a proper means of identification on them at all times.
“All business premises, markets, shops, motor parks and offices except grocery shops and pharmacies, must remain closed during this period.
Emmanuel insisted that the relevant security agencies have been briefed to ensure strict compliance with the directive.
Although he admitted that no nation was 100% ready for COVID-19, he however assured that the disease has not met the state unprepared.
“Just 2 days ago, I inspected facilities at one of the isolation centers we have prepared for possible cases such as this.
This is in addition to the already existing one in Ikot Ekpene, and I can assure you that other facilities are being prepared for similar use should the need for it arises.”
He warned against panic and fear and enjoined the cooperation of all rather than resort to blame games.
“What we need to do is to stay at home, practice social distancing and good personal hygiene, provide accurate and useful information to health workers whenever necessary.”
He said the virus can be contained if movements are restricted and advised anyone experiencing any of the symptoms of the illness or who has useful information on potential carriers, to immediately call the available emergency numbers.
While admitting that the total lockdown decision was a very tough one, the Governor, however, said it was the most logical step to be taken and assured that God will rescue the state from the evil plague.
“I can promise you that we will leave no stone unturned in the fight against this pandemic.
We may have been bruised but we will not be broken. While hoping for the best, we will prepare for the worst, but be rest assured that whatever that worst may be, it will not break us.”
COVID-19: Akwa Ibom Government Rejects NCDC Results Of 5 Positive Cases
The Akwa Ibom State Government has rejected the test results of the five coronavirus cases announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Wednesday night.
It fingered irregularities in the testing process and thereby called on the Centre to conduct another round of tests forthwith.
In a statement issued on Thursday, April 3, 2020 the government said all the fives cases reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 were yet to show any symptom of the virus.
It alleged that the NCDC director-general, Chikwe Ihekweazu, was not aware of the results before the announcement.
The statement read, “We observed a disturbing breach in the test and reporting procedure. Akwa Ibom State Government only heard about the test results in the news
“The Director-General of NCDC was not aware of the reported result announcement.
“All five reported positive test cases have been contacted and they have shown no COVID-19 symptoms.
“While the tests were being processed in NCDC-approved test facilities, all suspected cases were held in isolation.
“Several sample batches have been previously sent for testing from Akwa Ibom State and they all returned negative results.
“Owing to the irregularities observed in the testing and reporting procedure, Health Care Professionals in Akwa Ibom State have called for an immediate reconfirmation test on the five reported cases.”
WHO Expresses Concerned As COVID-19 Cases Escalate In Africa
With more than 6000 COVID-19 cases reported in Africa, the virus is threatening fragile health systems on the continent. Infections are increasingly spreading not only between African countries but within different localities in the hardest-hit countries.
For instance, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where COVID-19 cases were at first confined to Kinshasa, now a handful of cases have been reported in the easternmost regions of the country that were until recently in the grip of an Ebola outbreak. In South Africa, all provinces have now reported cases. The outbreaks in Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Senegal are also widespread.
“Case numbers are increasing exponentially in the African region,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa “It took 16 days from the first confirmed case in the Region to reach 100 cases. It took a further 10 days to reach the first thousand. Three days after this, there were 2000 cases, and two days later we were at 3000.”
To contain COVID-19, many countries in Africa are implementing measures, which restrict gatherings and the movement of people. Nationwide lockdowns are in effect in Kenya, Uganda, the Republic of the Congo and elsewhere. However, governments must use these measures in a considered, evidence-based manner, and make sure that people can continue to access basic necessities.