Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has disclosed that three suspected cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the state tested negative. He made this known on his Facebook page yesterday. The governor had, in a state-wide broadcast on Tuesday, said that the state was expecting results from Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo State of three patients who reportedly exhibited symptoms of the virus.
He also said the state would continue to be on red alert to forestall any outbreak of the disease in the state, while urging residents to continue to adhere to measures put in place by the government to check the spread of the virus in the state.
Meanwhile, state officials reportedly assaulted the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta Council, Michael Ikeogwu, and Daily Post correspondent, Matthew Omonigho, yesterday in Uvwie Council while monitoring the level of compliance on the stay-at-home order by the governor.
Also, the state government has warned dealers in foodstuff and other essential needs in the state against taking advantage of the lockdown that started yesterday or face dire consequences.
Barely 24 hours into the two-week lockdown of the state, residents are already expressing worries about imminent hunger as prices of essential commodities skyrocket. They, however, expressed their support for the government’s measure to contain the deadly virus.
Mr. Ifeanyi Chijindu, who deals in foods and drinks, said: “We are in total support of the lockdown, as it is for our own good. I thank Governor Okowa for that.” Bayelsa State has called for the unfettered passage for vehicles conveying foodstuff, medical supplies and personnel on essential services to their destinations.
Governor Duoye Diri made the call in the wake of residents’ outcry over the incessant increase in the price of foodstuff and other essential commodities. He stated this during an enlarged meeting with members of the state’s COVID-19 taskforce, including service commanders, labour leaders and representatives of international health organisations in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a statement by his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, the governor stressed the need for people to have access to food, drugs and other essential commodities as they comply with the restriction order on inter-state movement. Diri, who doubles as the state’s chairman of the COVID-19 taskforce, said the meeting was convened to appraise the challenges faced by the taskforce and to proffer solutions.
He said the government was exploring the possibility of providing a COVID-19 testing centre in the state. To this end, he constituted a committee headed by his deputy to assess the capacity of the Bio Resources Centre at Odi in Kolokuma/Opokuma Council.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Konbowei Benson; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodu Apoku; the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH), Prof. Dimie Ogoina; and former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Tonye Isenah, are to serve as members of the committee.
The governor also directed the Bayelsa State Electricity Company to provide a dedicated electricity line for NDUTH to enhance service delivery. He equally directed all council chairmen to operate from the headquarters of their respective councils and charged them to step up surveillance efforts at all marine and land borders.
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