The Bayelsa State Task Force on COVID-19 yesterday said that 140 blood samples sent to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)-approved laboratory in Edo State between March and April 2020 had all tested negative.
The co-Chairman of the state task force on COVID-19, Dr. Inodu Apoku, who disclosed this during a media briefing in Yenagoa, the state capital, said that surveillance is ongoing in the eight local councils of the state.
Apoku, who is also the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, said that the state government had been working to set up a COVID-19 reference laboratory in the state.
He noted that over 200,000 persons screened at the point of entry into the state had not shown any significant symptoms of concerns as regarding Coronavirus.
The permanent secretary said the state task force had also formed the local council task force in all the eight local councils of the state to handle the community mobilisation and enlightenment campaigns in rural and riverine communities.
Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom State Government has appealed to everyone to henceforth voluntarily make themselves available for testing by the COVID-19 team in the state.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Uyo titled, “Preparing To Open up the Economy,” the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, said “as a prelude to opening up our state economy, the state government, not willing to take chances with the lives of the citizens, has resolved to adopt aggressive testing of citizens and residents in Akwa Ibom State.
He said that the voluntary aggressive testing had become imperative because without ascertaining the level to which we have been impacted by the Coronavirus, it would not be possible to relax the lockdown, which we have just extended by one week.
While commending everyone on their efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, he specifically lauded members of the COVID-19 Incident Management Committee, first-line responders, the leadership of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and all other medical professionals in the state.
Ekuwem said that Governor Udom Emmanuel had put modalities in place even before the initially reported cases in the state and that “the state COVID-19 committee had increased the tempo and depth of its activities since the first cases in Akwa Ibom State were confirmed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).”
Besides, he explained that vigorous contact tracing efforts had been embarked upon and suspected cases attended to as deemed appropriate.
“The commitment and unrelenting efforts of the noble members of the committee have helped to reduce the dangers that would have resulted from community spreading of the Coronavirus,” he said.
He, however, reiterated the call on all “citizens and residents to remain responsible, committed and continue to co-operate with the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel as it continues to deploy pragmatic solutions to the present pandemic.”
“This is no time for partisanship; this is no time for propaganda; this is no time for mischievous criticism; but a time for all hands to be on deck.
“This is a time we must all join hands to fight a common enemy, COVID-19, that is threatening the human race,” he noted.