THERE was anxiety among health workers at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, ISTH, Edo State, yesterday, as a truckload of persons numbering 84 believed to have arrived from Kano State came to the hospital.
Similarly, another vehicle transporting 26 persons said to be coming from Rivers State was intercepted and all detainees from the two arrests are undergoing screening and testing to ascertain their COVID-19 status.
incident in Irrua was said to have caught the hospital management and staff unawares and led to some of the staff going home.
A source in the hospital told Vanguard, “When I arrived the hospital this morning (yesterday), I saw a lot of people being guarded by the police and on enquiry, I was told they were intercepted overnight and were said to be going to Lagos. The Police kept them overnight and then informed the state governor, who immediately ordered that they should all be subjected to Covid-19 test before any action would be taken about them. They have been isolated and urgent testing has begun to know the status of each of them.”
Public Relations Officer of the hospital, Odijie Ohue said, he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, who confirmed the incident said, “Operatives intercepted the vehicle and took them to Irrua police station. When counted, they were 84 human beings including the driver and when they were interrogated, they said they were coming from the North. They were taken to Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital for a proper medical check and that has been done.
“The state government order is that security agents should escort them away to where they said they were going to, and that is the West, either Ogun or Lagos state.”
State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, said the 26 travellers in a truck were stopped at AGIP Junction on Sapele Road and moved to the Stella Obasanjo Hospital for screening and testing to ascertain their COVID-19 status before they were let off to continue their journey.
On the travellers from Kano, Okundia said, “ISTH is screening and testing them. We are communicating and exchanging reports. The essence is to screen these persons and get them tested after which they will be allowed back into their truck to continue their journey and Police officers will escort them out of the state.”
The driver of the truck with registration number LSF 679 XZ spotted at Edo Central, John Monday, said he had just finished delivering his goods and decided to pick the passengers, who he claimed he charged between N500 and N700 on his way from Kano State en-route Ogun State.
Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has said that the lockdown of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas was not targeted at suffering the people but aimed at protecting Rivers people from coronavirus.
Speaking during a live phone-in radio programme in Port Harcourt, yesterday, “We have to lockdown Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas in the interest of our people. While individuals feel it, the state government is also affected because it loses revenue. But lives must be protected.
“We need continuous prayers to succeed. We have handed this state to God. We can only do much, but God will save our people.”
Wike said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that agriculture and health were key. He said the state government will work towards further growth in that direction.
He said: “Everyone should support the state government to tackle COVID-19. This is not a period of criticism. This is a period where all of us must come together, irrespective of political parties to stop the spread of the virus.
“I thank Rivers people for their support. It has been amazing. I am not moved by the unfounded criticism of a few. I am concerned about the protection of the vast majority of Rivers people because I have their mandate.”
Wike urged churches to fellowship online and pray for the state within the period. He said that basically, the state government was taking precautionary measures to protect Rivers people.
Bayelsa warns those breaching boundaries
Bayelsa State Government has warned those compromising its boundary control measures towards curtailing the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 in the state to turn a new leaf or face the wrath of the law.
State Deputy Governor, Senator Ewhrudjakpo handed down the warning at a meeting with members of the local government COVID-19 teams led by the eight council chairmen in Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo said, “I’m just coming from another meeting where I had reports that there is now high influx of strangers into our state. This is because of the porous borders.
“People are now running from places that experienced total lockdown to where they will have freedom of movement. These are people you don’t even know their virus status and our people are encouraging them to come in.
“We don’t have the kind of capacity Lagos has, but they are finding it difficult to cope with their situation despite the N10 billion support from the Federal Government.
“That is why I urge every one of us, including security agencies manning our borders to take government’s preventive measures seriously.’’
Police arrest 20 facemask defaulters in Delta
In Delta State, men of the police command, yesterday arrested no fewer than 20 persons in Asaba, the state capital for not wearing face masks in public.
According to Vanguard, the Police officers attached to the Okpanam police division arrested the facemask defaulters around the Midwifery market on Okpanam Road.
The policemen, who mounted roadblock after arresting a shop owner in the area for attending to customers without wearing a facemask, also apprehended some ‘Keke’ operators and their passengers for improper use of the facemasks.
One of the Police officers, who spoke to Newsmen on condition of anonymity, noted that some of the arrested persons wore the facemask on their chins, others wore it to cover their mouths leaving their noses opened while some had none.
FG inaugurates COVID-19 testing, a treatment centre in Port Harcourt
In Rivers State, the Federal Government has opened a testing and treatment centre in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH.
This came as the management of UPTH sought the collaboration of the Rivers State Government for testing and treatment of COVID 19 cases in the state.
Prof. Henry Ugboma, Chief Medical Director of the hospital, while unveiling the 14-bed isolation testing and treatment centre, said the medical outfit seeks to collaborate with the state government to contain an eventual community outbreak of COVID 19 in the state.
CACOVID strengthens Rivers, Enugu states against COVID-19
Private sector Coalition Against COVID-19, CACOVID, yesterday strengthened the fight against coronavirus scourge with the handover of fully equipped isolation centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and donation of beds and accessories in Enugu, Enugu State.
CACOVID is a joint initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Access Bank, UBA, GTBank and other private sector organisations.
A representative of CACOVID and Regional Head, Rivers Region 2 of the United Bank for Africa, UBA, Ms Blessing Ogwu, who handed over the centre in Port Harcourt said the facility located at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium in Port Harcourt comprises of an isolation and treatment centre aimed at supporting the Rivers State Government in handling cases of COVID-19 infections in the state.