By TOM CHIAHEMEN (Abuja) and SADIQ ABUBAKAR (Maiduguri) –
As cases of the rampaging Coronavirus grew to over 222,000 with a death toll of 87,000 from 176 countries or territories, Nigerian Senators took to their heels after hurriedly suspended plenary on Thursday, firmly shutting the doors of the red chamber behind them.
With more cases of coronavirus being reported across Nigeria, the Borno State Government has established and upgraded an Isolation Center for the treatment and control of COVID-19 in case of any eventuality.
While Ogunstate has extended the ban to schools and worship centres, authorities of the Lagos State University (LASU), also announced the postponement of convocation indefinitely over the Coronavirus pandemic.
This is even as Lagos State, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, is reported to have so far recorded about 5 to.8 cases among other states of the country.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, told newsmen on Thursday four new cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in the case.
With the development, the total number of coronavirus cases in the country now stand at 12.
According to the commissioner, a total of 19 suspected cases were subjected to test, from where four were confirmed positive.
Giving details about the tests, Abayomi identified a Nigerian female who returned from France via a Turkish airline (TK 1830) on March 14 as the first positive case.
He said: “What we have is a combination of imported cases and local transmission.”
Borno State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Aliyu Salihu Kwaya Bura, announced the establishment of the isolation centre on Thursday while briefing journalists at the Public Health Emergency Center located at the Hospitals Management Board headquarters in Maiduguri.
He said the center, which was formerly used for the control and treatment Lassa Fever, had been upgraded with modern and sophisticated facilities and equipment, including online facilities and well trained and experienced staff to man it.
According to the Health Commissioner, a standing committee was also set up to create awareness, respond to emergencies and disseminate information to the public on any outbreak of the epidemic across the state.
“In Borno state, I want to assure you of the efforts by the State Ministry of Health and of its preparedness to handle Coronavirus popularly known as COVUD 19, in case it rears its ugly head in the state,” Aliyu said.
“There is no case of COVID 19 in Borno state and should it rear its head, the state government has put in place necessary measures,” Dr Kwaya Bura said.
He further explained that the state government had upgraded and designated the 100-bed Brigadier Abba Kyari Memorial hospital as an isolation center in case any case of COIVID is recoded in the state. We have also stationed staff, safety Kitts and consumable in case it’s happens.
According to him, “Since 2nd March 2020, our surveillance unit have been activated at the Maiduguri International Airport to check the temoreture of all those wintering the state to detect any suspected case. We have also activated surveillance units in all our health facilities.
“State government is not unmindful of the fact that IDP camps are high risks areas and has put in place surveillance in the IDP camps. We have put our hands in Cross on public places such as motor parks, schools and other public gathering places should in case, the need be in order not to create panic among the general public,” Aliyu said.
The Commissioner further explained that the ministry was working closely with other state Ministries including Education, Transport, Trade and Investment and Women Affairs to effectively ensure that COVUD 19 is properly handled and urged the general public to imbibe the habit of personal hygiene such as regular hand washing, avoid hand shaking, public gatherings among other measures.
On the issue of Lassa Fever, the commissioner declared that ” Borno State is free of Lassa Fever,”, saying,”Borno state is free from Lassa Fever in line with the global standard of 3 weeks of non-case of Lassa fever for.”
“The state has witnessed five weeks of non-case of Lassa Fever. The Lassa Fever isolated centre at Gen. Abba Kyari Hospital Bolori has been upgraded to COVID -19 isolation center,” Salihu said.
He further maintained that the State Response Team has also been activated and urged people to contact in case of any suspected case.
The State Commissioner also commended the WHO and other health partners for the success recorded in the fight against Lassa fever and other emergencies while appealing to them to extend same support in the fight against COVID- 19.