Gov. Willie Obiano: No cause for alarm
The Anambra state government has said that the 20 cases of COVID-19 infections reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday were based on samples taken over three weeks ago across the state, and not infections recorded in one day.
This is even as the government advised the citizens to eat more vegetables and fruits such as bitter leaf (onugbu), pumpkin (ugu), lemons and oranges to raise their immune system.
A statement by C. Don Adinuba, state Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment, and member of the state Task Force on COVID-19, explained that Anambra is one of the states that have the lowest daily infections of the pandemic.
According to him, the clarification became necessary following the erroneous assumption by many people that as many as 20 persons were infected in Anambra state in one day.
He further explained that some of the samples were “even taken outside Anambra state, but were ascribed to our state because the people tested chose, for different reasons, to identify with the state.”
According to him, “only seven out of about 100 samples tested at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu Teaching Hospital, Awka, turned out positive.
“Therefore, the COVID-19 prognosis of our state is still good, one of the very best in the country.”
The statement reads in part: “It is important to bear in mind that many of the 20 reported cases came from Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, which most unfortunately lost one of its key officers to reported complications arising out of COVID-19.
“His contacts in the medical college, teaching hospital, his private hospital, family and community have been traced comprehensively.
“The relatively low positive results which Anambra state has been getting, despite the fact that a large number of our people travel extensively to all parts of the world for business and other legitimate pursuits, and the fact that we have some of the largest open-air markets in West Africa patronized daily by millions of people from West Africa and beyond, show that many of our people have embraced our relentless message on COVID-19.
“It is reassuring that the state has the capacity to manage cases should there be a spike.
“Apart from having teams of accomplished doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab scientists, ward cleaners and ambulance that play vital roles in the COVID-19 case management value chain, there are 600 beds in different protective care units in our state, otherwise known as isolation centres.
“The facility at the Onitsha General Hospital, with 58 beds, is the first centre in Nigeria to meet the World Health Organization (WHO) standards.”
He, however, appealed to residents to remain vigilant, saying that the highly contagious disease “is far from over in our state.”
According to him, “we expect a spike in infections soon. With the commissioning of the Mega Laboratory at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka, capable of testing 470 samples for COVID-19 simultaneously, there is likely to be a rise in the number of infections.”
He said that with the setting up of a COVID-19 Task Force in each of the 326 wards in the state by the Gov. Willie Obiano administration, “there is likely to be an increase in positive cases.”
He said the state is duty bound to “continue to guide our people to imbibe the habit of wearing face masks any time they come out in public, and wear them appropriately by covering their nostrils and mouths always, as opposed to the current practice where people wear the face covering on the chin and jaw.
“ We also need to encourage our people to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with running water and soaps and sanitizers,’ in addition to observing social distancing.”
The information commissioner said the state government has recently started a campaign on ways to boost citizens immunity as part of the strategy to fight COVID-19.
He said: “Our system needs plenty of vegetables like bitter leaf (onugbu) and pumpkin (ugu), and fruits like lemons, oranges, avocados, etc, which are available in large quantities throughout the state and beyond in the rainy season and now sell at affordable prices.
“Our system needs things like Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc for fortification. They are affordable.”