Nigeria: Coronavirus - Kwara Traces 75 Contacts of Patients Who Tested Positive

A commercial tricycle operator operating along Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos Nigeria

Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on Monday said the state's rapid response team (RRT) has identified at least 75 persons who have had contact with persons who tested positive for COVID-19.

Two people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Kwara. One is a recent returnee from the UK while the other is the wife of another returnee who died of suspected COVID-19 at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the teaching hospital suspended a professor it said misled the hospital medical staff by not providing information that a patient he brought to the hospital had COVID-19 symptoms and was on self-isolation. The patient later died while his wife later tested positive for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Mr AbdulRazaq told a news briefing in Ilorin that he has also signed a regulation, dated April 6, to give legal backing to the government's measures to contain the pandemic in Kwara State -- and said the highlight of the law includes "sanctions against anyone caught endangering public safety in whatever form or seeking to unfairly profit from our collective vulnerability and need for essential commodities at this time."

The governor said the contacts -- who have since begun isolation in line with COVID-19 protocol --include staff of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) who attended to a suspected case who died in the facility last Thursday.

"Our job is cut out for us and we are definitely not dropping the ball. Contact tracing by the Rapid Response Team of the medical advisory committee has so far netted 75 persons who have had contacts with the cases and the suspected case at UITH," Mr AbdulRazaq told the live press briefing in Ilorin, flanked by top government officials and statesmen already drafted into Kwara's COVID-19 response effort.

"This is a trying moment for the whole of mankind. But we are definitely not helpless or without reasonable preparation in Kwara State. We are also blessed with committed professionals who are up to the task and willing to stand up and be counted at this time -- while also taking all precautions.

"COVID-19 is a global pandemic. Contracting it is neither a death sentence nor an indication of guilt. We urge Kwarans to avoid crowded space, isolate themselves, and call our helplines if they have just returned from places of interest in the last three weeks. The government will quickly extend the ongoing fumigation exercise to these places of interest, including Offa, where contamination may have occurred as a result of this infectious disease. Notwithstanding our preparation, we are not ashamed to say that Kwara State will be glad to get all the help it can receive at this moment."

Mr AbdulRazaq said the administration is doubling down on its sensitisation efforts across various media platforms, including calling on traditional rulers to help spread the message in the hinterlands.

The governor said the government is "utterly disappointed" at the development at the UITH, demanding immediate suspension of Professor Alakija Salami for his role in the controversy.

"The government is utterly disappointed at the breach of trust that played out in the UITH case. Without prejudice to the internal investigation by UITH, we demand immediate suspension of Professor Alakija Kazeem Salami and every other official of UITH whose professional misconducts brought us down this path," he said.

"Finally, Kwarans, this is no time to panic. Please stay calm. The Government will do everything to keep you safe. But we also need you to play your own role. Stay at home. Keep social distancing. Avoid crowd. Prioritise personal hygiene. And please do not spread unverified news."

The government has commended corporate bodies and private individuals who have donated to the counter-COVID-19 campaign.

"The government is grateful to Sterling Bank Plc for the donation of N30m; Olam Investments for giving us 30 tons trailer load spaghetti, 300 bags of rice, and 50 cartons of sunnola oil; the Christian Association of Nigeria for the gift of cartons of kings vegetable oil and 100 cartons of (70g) Golden Penny; Dr Samuel Akinlaja of Peace Standard Pharmaceuticals for the gift of 5,000 (70ml) bottles of hand sanitisers.

"We are equally thankful to Ibrahim Olaiya and Sons of Olak Petroleum for giving us N5m; Arshov Solution Cleaning Service for donating 8 cartons of indomie noodles, 10 cartons of bottle water, 2 packs of toilet rolls, 3 packs of spaghetti, and 3 bags of semovita; Adesokan Ibilade Joel for the gift of N100,000; Afolabi Hammed of Haphoo Unisex fashion school for the gift of 29 pieces of locally made face masks; MD Chelfcom Construction Company Nigeria Ltd for giving us N1.5m; a secondary school teacher at ECWA Secondary School Igbaja Mrs Aboyeji Janet Shola for giving us a quarter of her monthly salary; and a student, Mohammadu Sanni Machido for the gift of a part of his savings N3,760. These gifts mean everything to the administration as it ramps up efforts to contain the virus and reach out to the poorest of the poor."

Rafiu Ajakaye

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/

Spokesman for the Technical Committee on COVID-19.

April 7th, 2020.

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