Abia State has recorded five additional cases of coronavirus outbreak to the existing two Septugerian index patients that tested positive to the virus.
Recall that the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in a post last week Sunday night stated that three samples of suspected patients tested positive, but the governor of the state, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu in a press conference held at the Governor’s Lodge in Aba, the commercial nerve of the state said that the state on Sunday recorded five new cases.
Ikpeazu in a breakdown said that three out of the five patients were returnees from Lagos State, while the other two who are asymptomatic don’t have any travel history.
According to the governor, the state’s rapid response team has been directed to move into Ofeme, Afugiri, and Olokoro of Umuahia North and South respectively to start aggressive and deep contact tracing of those that may have come in contact with the index cases as measures to curtail further spread of the virus in the affected communities.
Speaking on the progress of the two initial index cases, Ikpeazu said “recall that we had two index cases which we have been managing in the past three weeks or thereabouts. We are happy to announce that one (male index case) out of the two has returned two consecutive negative results and we have long discharged him.
“The other index case returned a negative result, but could not make it the second time. Therefore, she is still being managed and it is our desire and hope that she will remain stable until she returns two consecutive negative results.
“The total number of COVID-19 cases in Abia this afternoon is six. These five new cases incidentally are three returnees from Lagos State while the other two are asymptomatic and do not have a history of any previous travel.
“The circumstances of these cases have brought to the fore the need for us to reemphasize total closure of our borders and commitment by every person, especially, those that we have assigned the duty of manning our borders.
“The war against COVID-19 is a war that has tasked everybody to show leadership at all levels. This is not government business, it concerns each and every one of us and we expect that every Abian and indeed, every Nigerian should show leadership at the family, community, church and at all levels because it is only when we take responsibility that we all can put our acts together and win this war.
“We want residents in these communities especially those that have come in contact with these index cases to please come forward and make contact tracing exercise a little easier for us.
“We will reach and every person that has come in contact with these patients, take samples and ensure that they are tested for us to know where we are.
“I want to once again say that we are not deterred by these results because we already have enough facilities to take care of the cases. You are aware that we just commissioned a 100 bedded isolation centre with oxygen concentrators, ventilators and patient monitors at Amachara.
“The isolation in Aba infectious diseases hospital is also ready. This is in addition to the very first isolation centre in Amachara. So, we have the capacity to take between 150-170 patients should the number of cases arise. It is our desire and hopes that we will be able to nurse these patients back to health in no distance time.”
The Abia State governor who warned of a possible imminent review of the relaxation directives as a result of the activities of transporters which could lead to further spread of the virus said “We must emphasize the determination of the government to review the ease of the ongoing lockdown initiative should the case arise.
“And if our transporters, especially the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and all those that are involved in the movement of people from one location to another, refuse to take heed of the signals that are arising from the three cases that I mentioned earlier, we will be left with no option than to target these transporters and sanction them accordingly.
“Government will leave no stone unturned to protect innocent and hapless citizens and we will protect them against very greedy businessmen and transporters who are determined to flout government orders for selfish reasons.
“Therefore, I want to hope and pray that we take the lessons that are coming as a result of these new cases and know that our desire to lock down our borders is a very serious one, and if we don’t take it seriously, we may be embarrassed by the number of cases that will infiltrate from elsewhere.”
In another development, the Abia State government has urged Muslim faithful in the state to perform their Eid prayer and mark their Eldi Fitri celebration at home.
This was disclosed by the Commissioner of Information in the state, Mr. John Okiyi-Kalu on Friday in a monitored radio programme.
According to Okiyi-Kalu in a telephone interview said that the governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu gave the Muslim Community the directives after meeting with their leaders on Thursday.
“The Governor has told them to hold their Eid prayers at home and not in the usual Eid praying ground. The governor also urged them to mark the Salah at home and avoid the usual visitation of family members.”