The Commissioner for Health in Cross River State, Betta Edu, says the COVID-19 free status of the state is due to Governor Ben Ayade's "proactive efforts", and not a matter of coincidence or luck.
Cross River is yet to record a single case of the novel coronavirus as of May 27.
"This is neither a coincidence nor luck, this free status of the state is as a result of the state's early measures and proactive efforts even before the said virus hit Africa," Mrs Edu, a medical doctor, said in a statement forwarded to PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday morning.
Mrs Edu's statement, titled 'Neither fake rumours nor panic will manufacture the virus in Cross River State', said some people who should join hands with Mr Ayade's administration to build a safe environment for the people were rather going about circulating lies in order to create fear and panic in the state.
The commissioner said the administration welcomes "constructive" criticism because "it gives us room to improve and do better", but said they are against the peddling of fake news in the state.
"The life and welfare of every Cross Riverian remains sacrosanct to the government of Ben Ayade as this is evident in the efforts put so far by this administration even before the outbreak of COVID-19.
"The health sector for the past five months has witnessed massive change, starting from our General Hospitals across the state wearing new look, capacity building of health work force for effective response to the coronavirus outbreak, the taskforce, the isolation centers, and others
"Ben Ayade has left no stone unturned, as the state swung to action as early as January to tackle this global pandemic.
"We've maintained that tempo, without relenting till date. We remain the first State to close our borders and conduct screening at all entry and exit points of the State. We started the no mask, no movement in Nigeria.
"We have continually done the needful. And so far, we're very proud of the results and achievements, irrespective of the fake rumours being carried around by rumour-mongers to probably distract us which remains impossible especially as there is absolutely nothing to lose sleep for," she said.
Mrs Edu, who heads the state taskforce on COVID-19, advised people in Cross River not to be live in fear, but to continue to adhere to the health directives issued by the government and health workers, regarding the novel coronavirus.
"We remain resolute in this (COVID-19) fight and nothing whatsoever can distract us," she said.