From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
Finally, Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Tuesday ordered for complete lockdown of the state from 10 P.M on Thursday, 16 April, 2020. The order is coming on the heels of another new case of Corona Virus in the state on Tuesday, bringing the number to four.
The AUtHORITY reports that apart from the index case involving a former envoy last Saturday, two other cases were recorded on Easter Monday, involving a young man and a woman that returned from Instabul.
Ganduje who briefed journalists after a meeting with Ulamas on Tuesday evening said the latest confirmed case came as a result of the first batch of 18 persons traced to have had contacts with the index case, adding that when their blood samples were subjected to laboratory test, 17 came out negative, while one was found to be positive.
He urged Kano residents to continue to maintain personal hygiene, social distancing and strictly observe the stay at home order as long as the lockdown lasts. Ganduje who said he was aware of the inconvenience the lockdown order may cause to residents, insisted that it was the best decision to take at this material time so as to curb the spread of the deadly virus and save lives.
He added that during the lockdown, markets, Mosques and other places of worship are expected to close down completely, adding that, “people are expected to observe Friday prayers in their homes. I am happy that the Ulamas have agreed that Friday prayers will no longer hold in the Mosque for now.”
However, Kano state state government has expressed concern over the array of fake news in the Social Media on the exact number of COVID-19 cases in the state. Reacting to a fake data purported to have emanated from the Kano state Ministry of Health Twitter Handle, claiming that the COVID-19 case in the state has risen to 10, the Information Officer of the Ministry of Health, Hadiza M. Namadi, on Tuesday, urged the public to disregard such concocted data, describing it as the handiwork of the enemies of the state.
Hadiza Namadi insisted that the accurate figure of COVID-19 case in Kano remains four, following two confirmed cases on Easter Monday.
The AUTHORITY recalls that last Saturday, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje announced the index case of COVID-19 in Kano, involving a 75-year old former envoy who made trips to Kaduna, Lagos and Abuja before his return to Kano on the 25 March, 2020.
The former Ambassador oblivion of the fact that he had contracted the virus had gone to a private hospital for routine check-up as a result of his enduring health complications.
He was said to have also attended Friday prayers, funeral and wedding ceremonies, before he was tested positive to the deadly virus and taken to Dawakin Kudu Isolation Centre where he is currently receiving adequate medical attention.
The AUTHORITY also gathered that the two new cases that cropped up on Easter Monday involved a woman and a young man who returned from a trip to Instabul, the latest case announced by Ganduje Tuesday evening brought the number of cases so far to four.
It was learnt that the duo had gone into self-Isolation upon their return, until they made themselves available for test and were immediately evacuated into the Isolation Centre when their cases were confirmed positive.
However, fake news of seven new cases of the virus in Kano went viral in the Social Media on Tuesday, prompting the quick response of the Ministry of Health which insisted that the cases of COVID-19 in Kano, for now, stood at three.
Hadiza Namadi said, “the general public should disregard the news making the rounds that Kano state has seven more cases of COVID-19. As I speak to you, the officially confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in Kano remains three. Any other news or data outside of this remains fake.”
Though Ganduje last Saturday ordered Tricycles in the state to carry only one passengers, the order was later reviewed after a crucial meeting with the Commissioner’ of Transportation and the Director-General of Kano Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA), where it was agreed that while Tricycles would be carrying two passengers, taxis in the state are mandated to carry three passengers (two at the back, one in the front).
Confirming the Kano index case last Saturday,
Ganduje who spoke at Africa House, Government House, described the situation as very sad, pointing out that, “indeed, it is a sad moment for us. This is an occassion that we are not happy with. I am unhappy to inform the people of Kano state that today (Saturday), we got a patient who tested positive to COVID-19.
“He is a 75-year old retiree and former Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He travelled to Kaduna, Lagos and Abuja, and came back to Kano on 25 March, 2020.”
Ganduje added that the patient’s blood sample was taken along other nine people to Abuja, adding that when the results were brought to Kano on Saturday, he tested positive to Corona Virus, while the other nine people tested negative.
Ganduje further stated that, “today, it is confirmed that we have a case of COVID-19 in Kano. The former Ambassador has no history of travelling abroad in recent times, but medical reports confirmed that he has health complications. There in Kurna Dawakin Kudu, we have 70 beds, ventilators and other facilities. What we are doing now is to trace those he has contacts with.
“We learnt that he attended a marriage ceremony– we are trying to get those who he had contacts with at the marriage ceremony. We also learnt that he attended Mosque last Friday, we are also tracing those who has contacts with him.”
Ganduje further stated that a Private Hospital where the former Ambassador had gone for normal treatment before he was found to be COVID-19 positive has been shutdown, just as the Doctors and nurses who attended to him have been traced.
He said the samples of all the family members of the former Ambassador have been taken for test, adding that all the samples taken have been deposited at the COVID-19 test Laboratory at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH).
Ganduje urged members of the public to adhere strictly to directives as given by the Federal Ministry of Health, State Ministry of Health, WHO and other health experts, pointing out the importance of observing social distancing.
He also said government is making plans to identify markets that are necessary to operate in the state.
He also advised religious leaders to ensure maintenance of social distancing in places of worship so as to save lives.
Ganduje appealed to Kano residents to ensure the stay-at-home order, adding that, “members of the public should know that business is no longer as usual. Social distancing in places of worship should be strictly observed. We must take drastic actions. In the markets, business will no longer be as usual.
“We will hold a meeting and found out those markets that must operate. We must remain in our homes so as to save lives. People should bear with us. We know that, we know that the measures we are taking are hard, but the public should bear with us.
“We have made adequate arrangements for protective items for our Doctors, nurses and other health workers. We are also working out some rumunerations for our frontline Doctors and Nurses,” he stated.
The AUTHORITY reports that the Kano Taskforce Committee on COVID-19 headed by the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna is also working round the clock to ensure that residents are well informed and adhering to the preventive health tips against COVID-19.
The Taskforce has also engaged in routine monitoring of boarder points across the state to ensure that the boarder closure order is being carried out to the letter.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Habu Sani in conjunction with the Director-General of KAROTA, Baffa Baba Dan Agundi and other security agencies have impounded a number of vehicles which violated the boarder closure order, just as residents of the state are constantly being charged to avoid crowded places and maintain the culture of social distancing and personal hygiene.
Speaking to The AUTHORITY on the activities of the Kano State COVID-19 Fund Raising Committee chaired by the Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Prof. Muhammad Yahuza Bello, the state Commissioner of Information, Malam Muhamamd Garba who is also a member of the Committee, described the response to the Committee’s appeal as encouraging, but was quick to appeal to good spirited individuals and corporate organizations who has not answered the Clarion call of the Committee to do so without hesitation.
According to him, “you know that Kano is a peculiar state, considering our size in terms of population. We are targeting to offer Palliatives to over 300, 000 households and you know what that means. Though we continue to receive support from individuals and corporate organizations, I can tell you that we still do not have enough to reach out to the identified beneficiaries.
“Our assignment is continuous and we are hopeful that more people from within and outside the state will keep on responding to our appeal to save humanity at this critical time of the world’s history.”
Malam Garba added that, “on a general note, I urge Kano residents never to panic as Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s administration has taken all the necessary steps to contain this pandemic. Instead of spreading fake news capable of causing fear and apprehension, I appeal to the good people of Kano state to complement government’s efforts by observing personal hygiene, social distancing and the stay-at-home order.
“Through the grace of God, we shall overcome this pandemic. Kano state can never be worse for it.”