Gov Udom declares Akwa Ibom safe, free of COVID-19

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By Theresa Ukpong

Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has declared the oil rich state a clean bill of health, saying his government has adopted proactive steps to stem the spread of the CoronaVirus in the state.

Emmanuel, who reaffirmed an earlier assurance of the state government that “there is no confirmed case of Coronavirus in Akwa Ibom State”, said the state had long taken very proactive steps to protect its citizens.

In a statewide broadcast in Uyo during the weekend, Governor Emmanuel posited that his administration had put in place modalities to ensure that the state maintained its clean slate against the deadly virus, the measures put in place at our airport is comprehensive and has no equivalent anywhere in West Africa, and therefore, there’s no need to live in fear and panic.

According to Udom, “You may have read a rash of mischievous information peddled by certain media platforms on the status of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our State.

“I want to assure the public that the rumours and false information going around on social media are completely false. For emphasis, let me state here unequivocally that there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 disease in Akwa Ibom State, as I speak to you. As a matter of fact, the measures put in place at our airport is comprehensive and has no parallel anywhere in West Africa.”

Emmanuel explained that he had immediately set up an Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Task Force with a charge on the Commissioner for Health to remain on top of the situation, even before the first confirmed case was recorded in the country.

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“In our usual proactive stance, I had, weeks ago, given the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, the marching order to be on top of the issue and an Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Task Force was immediately set up. This was even before the first confirmed case of Corona Virus in Nigeria was recorded.

“Some of the actions initiated include: Creating awareness:  Through the media, both print and electronic, jingles to sensitize the residents with relevant information on COVID-19 infection are ongoing in the State in English, pidgin and local dialects.

“Sensitisation and awareness campaigns have been taken to nooks and crannies of the state, notably, local government offices, traditional institutions, religious bodies, educational institutions, public and private hospitals.

“Surveillance, prevention and infection control measures have been instituted in our hospitals. Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) have been distributed to all health facilities to facilitate infection prevention and control,” he said.

The governor said screening has been instituted at various entry points to the state. Adding that the state government has also taken upon itself; training and intensive enlightenment awareness seminar sessions conducted in many parts of the state.

“Functional ambulances and rapid response teams are on standby to move suspected or confirmed cases, if any, to the Emergency Operation Centre at Ikot Ekpene. The Emergency Operation and Treatment Centre (EOC), in Ikot Ekpene is ready to serve as an isolation/treatment centre to receive, and care for any confirmed case of COVID-19 infection if it occurs.  We are also monitoring other entry point to the State.

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“The State Ministry of Health is in constant communication with National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Directorate of Public Health Services has received sample collection kits from NCDC and are updating the management of the Ministry on global, national and State COVID-19 data and information daily”, he added

The state governor also advised Akwa Ibomites to continue to observe the simple rules of Personal and Respiratory Hygiene such as regular hand washing with soap under running water, use of hand sanitiser, where there is no water and coughing/sneezing into a disposable tissue paper or the cuff of the elbow where no tissue is available and proper disposal of the used tissue.

“Put on a mask if you cannot properly move away from any person with those symptoms and or give the person a mask to wear. It is also important to observe social distancing, avoid hand shaking, and keep at least six feet away from anyone who is sneezing or coughing”, he advised.

Emmanuel appealed to members of the public that if they noticed the following  symptoms which include: Fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty in breathing, generally feeling unwell (malaise), and common cold like catarrh or runny nose, sneezing, cough, that they should self-isolate themselves and invite our Emergency Response Team for assessment and follow-up.

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