COVID-19: Abia records three fresh cases, Ebonyi Govt confirms re-arrest of escaped patient, group donates palliatives to Enugu Govt

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Abia State Government, on Thursday, disclosed that three fresh confirmed COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the state, bringing the total number of cases to 10.
This was made known in a statement by Chief John Okiyi-Kalu, the Commissioner for Information, in Umuahia.
“We recorded one new confirmed case of COVID-19 on Tuesday, 26th May, 2020, and an additional two on Wednesday, 27th May, 2020, thereby bringing our total confirmed cases to 10 with four discharged.
“One new confirmed patient escaped from a holding facility in Aba and is yet to be apprehended. All the active cases at the Isolation facility at Abia State Specialist and Diagnostic Hospital, Amachara are clinically stable.
“While the remaining index patient who is above 71 years old and with underlying medical condition has been declared COVID-19 free and discharged from isolation at Federal Medical Center, Umuahia,” Okiyi-Kalu said.
He said that the new confirmed cases were residents of Aba and had no record of recent travel outside the state, adding that it might be possible cases of community infection.
Okiyi said that the state government had commenced contact tracing within the locality of the new confirmed cases and collecting the samples of people that had contact with the patients to prevent further spread.
He said that the private medical facility in Aba where one of the patients was managed for other medical issues had been decontaminated and temporarily shut down.
Okiyi-Kalu said: “We are awaiting results for samples collected from contacts of the confirmed patients and will inform as appropriate when received.
“Our medical rapid response team will continue with ongoing case searches across the state while we await delivery of molecular testing equipment already paid for by the state.
“We remain confident that, with the grace of God, we have the capacity to nurse our patients back to good health even as we continue to expand our capacity to safely isolate and manage those who are infected.”
He urged the people of Abia to be vigilant and take necessary measures to protect themselves because the recent development had highlighted the evidence of the presence of community infection within the state.
Okiyi-Kalu advised the people of Abia to take the wearing of face masks very seriously and emphasised the need for  it to be worn properly at all times.
The commissioner said that it was also important to observe social distancing regulations, then either practice regular hand washing under running water or use original hand sanitizers.
He called on the people to avoid stigmatising COVID-19 patients, their family members and communities, adding that the disease was not a death sentence and nobody in the state or country was responsible for the outbreak of the pandemic.
He commended the health practitioners working in the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 and urged the people of Abia to continually pray for their safety in the line of duty.
“COVID-19 is real but you can help prevent it from infecting you or your loved ones and help to stop the spread by taking personal responsibility,” Okiyi-Kalu said.

In a related development, the Ebonyi State Government on Thursday said that it had rearrested  the COVID-19  patient that escaped while being treated at the state’s isolation centre in Abakaliki.
Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezurike, confirmed the development while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the state’s  Executive Council’s (EXCO) meeting.
 
He also assured the residents of the state that there was no cause for alarm on the issue.
Umezurike said that the patient whom he described as a ‘young lady’, had been successfully brought back to the isolation centre.
He said:“We will, however, not reveal the strategy we used but we used tracking devices on such issues based on the seriousness of escape from the isolation centre.
“The repercussion may lead to community transmission which we have been careful and trying to avoid in the state,” he said.
The commissioner also said that a similar incident occurred in  Afikpo North Local Government Area which involved some returnees quarantined at the quarantine centre in the council.
“We can confirm that just before the results of ‘persons of interests’ came out, some of them were no where  to be found.
“When the results came out, we employed all the measures; the fastest and most effective and recovered all of them.
“It is rightly observed that some of them went back to their families and when we considered that the exposure was significant, we brought them back to the quarantine centre.
“We are, however, monitoring the secondary contacts through surveillance and contact tracing which is the standard practice.”
The  Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Uchenna  Orji, commended the health commissioner and his team for being proactive in the fight against the disease in the state.
“The commissioner and his team have listed 2,240 persons for contact tracing and this implies that most of ‘these concerns’ have been listed for such tracing.
“We have not recorded any case of community transmission so far and in the case of escape, the team will always do the contact tracing effectively,” he said.
Meanwhile, a group,  Victim Support Fund,  VSF,  chaired by General Theophilus Y.  Danjuma (rtd) has donated food and medical items worth N120 million to Enugu State government  to cushion the effects  of COVID-19 pandemic in the state. 

Receiving the items which included rice,  beans,  garri,  vegetable oil,  salt,  sanitizer,  facemasks,  eye goggles,  booths and T-shirts  in Enugu on Wednesday, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi,  who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mrs  Cecilia Ezeilo,  thanked the  founders of the Fund for  converting their support for terrorism victims into COVID-19 support and for extending the gesture to Enugu State. 

Expressing her joy over the gesture,    she said, “What you did is reflected in the Bible,  whatsoever  you do to the least of  my brothers,  that you do unto me . You remembered  the vulnerable,  the poor and  you went in  and  brought  all these for Enugu people”.

The deputy governor  assured that the items would be distributed  judiciously, saying,  “It’s  going  to go  to ndi  Enugu. ”
She appealed to the group to extend  their educational support program to Enugu State,  saying,  “We  need it to rebuild  some old  infrastructure  in Enugu State “.

In his  remarks, a member of the  Fund,  Sunday  Ochocho  said that the items they brought  were food and  medical items.  He said that the medical items included surgical  masks,  fabric face masks,   booths, sanitizer and eye goggles. 

Presenting the items to the State government,  the chairperson of Victim Support Fund, VSF,  Tosin Akirele-Olusoji  said  that the Fund focused on  north east,  “to rehabilitate the north east and when herdsmen  struck in the North Central,  we were pushed a bit”. Olusoji  added that they focused on agriculture,  public infrastructure in Benue State. 

The chairperson disclosed that this is the first time they were coming to  the South east. Their  gesture  she said,  was for Enugu State and they were going to reach out to Ebonyi State too because the two states had the highest number of COVID-19 infection  in the South East  zone .

She hinted that, “The National chairman,  General T. Y. Danjuma  said that we cannot  sit down  and fold  our hands   in this COVID-19 and allow people  to die of hunger. On 30Th  March, 2020, General Danjuma  inaugurated the COVID-19 Support  Fund .

According to her,  “The  COVID-19 is not just getting  the South East, it’s  a  national thing .We  think  the unity of the  Nigeria is pivotal to the growth of  Nigeria.  You know the story  of nobody cares for the Igbos,  the  Victim  Support Fund  does. ”

She said  that the items would take care of 3,000 households for a month.  The items included,  “rice in 10kgs, Beans in 10kgs, Garri  in 10kgs, vegetable oil  in 4 litres,  salt in 2kgs,sanitizer, 30,000, facemasks,  50,000.  Eye goggles,  booths and   T-shirts worth N120 million for 3, 000 households,  enough to take them for one month. ”

The chairperson  added that members of  the civil society organisations will join in the sharing since they also work with vulnerable  groups.  She disclosed  that they visited the internally displaced  persons ‘ camp in Taraba and reached out to them. 

“We take these donations seriously. We prioritised  the items of food in Enugu State. We are giving food that can  last a household  one month. We are going to touch every part of Nigeria.  We are working with the Federal ministry of health,  public institutions  to ensure that COVID -19 becomes a thing of the past in Nigeria. Victim Support Fund,  VSF,   is accountability and  transparency , we are caring for the vulnerable, ” she said.

The deputy governor was accompanied by  members of the Enugu State palliative committee  including,  the secretary and Executive Secretary of SEMA, Nkechi  Eneh,  the commissioner  for inter ministerial,  Mrs  Mabel  Agbo,  leader of the Enugu State House of Assembly,  Hon.  Ngene among others. 

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