From Austine Tule, Makurdi
The controversy generated by the issue of whether the first index case of COVID 19 was positive or not has been laid to rest by both the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and the Federal Ministry of Health which have confirmed that the patient’s second test in Abuja was positive.
According to the Benue State Commissioner for Health and Secretary of the State’s COVID 19 Action Committee, Dr Sunday Ongbabo, both authorities vindicated the state by saying that Benue state Ministry of Health and the Action Committee did the needful by following laid down procedures for the testing of the patient’s samples which were positive before she was transferred to Abuja on request.
Ongbabo who disclosed that the 23 persons that were isolated after having contacts with the index case tested negative, said after a further confirmation, they would be discharged.
He observed said those speculating that the index case tested negative in the first instance were out for blackmail and cautioned them against joking with the life of a well respected Nigerian.
He said two relations of the patient were on self isolation and promised to keep the people posted on their status when the time comes.
The health commissioner said the committee would not take chances in its efforts towards preventing the disease from spreading in Benue state and urged those at the entry points of the state where thermometers have been placed for checking people to be more vigilant.
He explained that at the Oweto bridge in Agatu local government area where people come into Benue state through Loko in Nasarawa state, all precautionary measures have been taken.
He said more thermometers would be sent to the area for the checking of travelers who may be trying to circumvent the state’s watertight surveillance and reiterated Governor Ortom’s order that all markets would remain closed until the situation was reviewed.
Ongbabo requested for the cooperation of the citizenry, stressing that the COVID 19 Action Committee and the Benue state government would not leave any stone unturned in its efforts to prevent the spread of the dreaded disease.
He appealed to Benue people to quickly report to the. Committee or the Ministry of Health any visitor or relation who shows symptoms of the disease, emphasizing that COVID 19 was a respiratory disease which makes patients to cough, sneeze profusely and run high temperature akin to that of someone who may be having fever or severe headache.
Thé commissioner appealed to the people to continue to observe the tips for prevention which include regular use of hand sanitizers, washing of hands with soap under running water, coughing or sneezing into the elbow or handkerchief and keeping of personal hygiene.
He urged those who attempted to rubish Benue state’s efforts through the social media to instead commend her efforts, insisting that as an expert in the management of emergency health problems, he would not allow COVID 19 to sneak into the state.
He therefore asked all the citizens to be information officers on the need to curtail the spread.