Press Briefing by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Monday, 18th May, 2020, at Governor’s Lodge, Aba.
1. Some results of samples we sent for testing returned and we have 5 new confirmed cases on our hands.
2. Recall that we had 2 index cases which we have been managing since the past 3 weeks or so and we are happy to announce that one of the index cases tested negative twice and has since been discharged.
3. The other index case returned a negative result but could not make it the second time. And therefore, she’s still being managed and it is our desire and hope that she’ll remain stable until she returns two negative results.
4. So, the number of active cases in Abia State as at this afternoon is 6.
5. Of the five new cases, incidentally, 3 of them are recent returnees from Lagos while the other 2 are currently asymptomatic and have no recent travel history.
6. The circumstances of these cases have brought to the fore the need for us to re-emphasize total closure of our inter-state borders and commitment by every person, especially those that were assigned the duty of manning the borders.
7. The war against COVID-19 is a war that has tasked everybody to show leadership at all levels. This is not the business of government alone. It concerns every one of us.
8. Every Abian and, indeed, every Nigerian should show leadership at the family level, at the community level, at the church level and, indeed, at all levels. Because it is only when we take responsibility that we all can put our acts together and win this war.
9. We have asked our medical rapid response team to move into the affected local governments and locations to start aggressive contact tracing. This will take us from Ofeme through Afugiri into Olokoro and we want residents in these communities, especially those that have come in contact with these cases, to come forward and make the exercise a little easier for us.
10. We will reach each and every person that has come in contact with these patients and we will take samples and ensure they are tested for us to know exactly where we are in this task against coronavirus.
11. I want to once again say that we are not deterred by these results because already we have enough facilities and medical capacity to take care of the cases.
12. You are aware that we just commissioned a 100-bed Isolation center with oxygen concentrators, ventilators, patient monitors etc at Amachara, Umuahia.
13. The isolation center in Aba located at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) is also ready. We have capacity to take between 150 and 170 patients should the need arise.
14. It is our desire and hope that we would be able to nurse all our patients back to good health in no distant time.
15. We must emphasize the determination of government to review the current ease on our lockdown initiative should the situation call for that. And if our transporters, especially members of Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and all those involved in the movement of people from one state to another, are found culpable especially with respect to these 3 recent cases, they will be sanctioned appropriately.
16. Government will leave no stone unturned to protect innocent and hapless citizens against greedy businessmen and transporters who are determined to flout government’s order for selfish reasons.
17. Therefore, I want to hope and pray that we’ll take the lessons that are coming as a result of these 3 cases seriously and also to note that our decision to lock our borders is a very serious one.
18. We call for total responsibility from all and sundry to report suspected cases of the virus to 0700 2242 362 for prompt action. COVID-19 is not a death sentence, especially when diagnosed early enough and no one should stigmatize patients.