From Steve Oko, Umuahia
Abia State Government has dismissed as unfounded falsehood, speculations that a foreign guest infested with coronavirus was hiding in a hotel in Aba.
Commissioner for Health, Joe Osuji who made the denial at a press conference in Umuahia, explained that contrary to rumours, the said guest was rather suffering from malaria and not the dreaded coronavirus pandemic.
Osuji who was flanked by the management of Hotel Du Golf at the joint press conference said that Abia had no case of coronavirus yet.
His words: “The foreigner is a South African and an engineer installing some gadgets for Kilimanjaro holdings, an offshoot of Shoprite Conglomerate. He is not infected with the virus, but merely suffered from malaria attack which some misconstrued as Coronavirus.
The Commissioner identified the South African as a staff of Kilimanjaro holdings, an offshoot of Shoprite Conglomerate, adding that he has since recovered and gone back to work.
According to the Commissioner, the laboratory result obtained from the South African shows that he suffered and was treated of malaria and not Coronavirus.
He further explained that immediately the rumour of a suspected coronavirus case filtered in, the state launched investigation into and discovered it was untrue.
“Upon reading the report in the social media, myself, the epidemiologist and other health officials swung into action. We went to the hotel. And on getting there, we discovered that it was a case of malaria attack and not anything near Coronavirus,” he said.
“We learnt that he developed some symptoms and decided to go to hospital. On getting to the first hospital, there was no doctor and so his driver took him to Abia State Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Aba and he rejected the place.
“He (the driver) then drove him to another hospital where laboratory analysis showed that he had malaria. The man has been treated of malaria and now has a clean bill of health.”
The Commissioner further noted that contrary to speculations and suspected foreigner did not just arrive the country but has been in Nigeria since January.
“The young man has stayed in the hotel since January 29th, 2020. He has not travelled to South Africa nor gone to any country or town since he lodged in the hotel. We equally learnt that he does associate with anybody. His international passport also confirms what I have just said,” the Abia Commissioner of Health he said.
He, therefore, urged members of the public to disregard the rumour, insisting that Abia has not index case of coronavirus yet.
Corroborating his position, management of the Hotel du Golf said the South African had not brought any visitor to his room since he lodged there on January 29, 2020 .
Mr Jonathan Ogwo, who spoke for the hotel said that “the man rarely goes out of his hotel room since he lodged in the place.
“We saw his international passport and discovered that he even has a residential permit in Nigeria. He only suffered from cold; that was as result of the malaria he had. Right now, he’s hale and hearty.
“We believe that the enemies of the hotel may have sponsored to smear our rising profile. The person who wrote the report has even apologised but the damage has been done already.
“It is a calculated and mischievous attempt by some faceless individuals to bring the hotel down,” he asserted.
Adding his voice, the Head of Investigation, Nigeria Immigration Service in Abia State, Mr Kabiru Bello said as soon as he read the report in online media, he raced to the hotel and discovered that “the man is not an illegal immigrant.”
He said people should not panic over the rumour which he said was fake news.