It was drama on Thursday at the Kogi State Government House as officials of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) sent to ascertain the COVID-19 status of the state fled to avoid being subjected to COVID-19 test.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire revealed that a team of health experts from the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) is heading to Kogi state to help in providing the needed manpower and to increase their capacity for testing.
Dr. Ehanire who made this disclosure on Thursday at daily press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic also said that another team of health experts from the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC will be going to Cross River state to join the workforce already in the state in order to increase its testing capacity.
He however, stated that the Federal Ministry of Health is meeting with all the 36 states Commissioners of Health to chart ways of dealing with the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic, adding that everything is been done to curtail the spread of Covid-19 disease.
Dr. Ehanire reiterated his advice to frontline health workers, doctors and nurses inclusive, to take adequate precautionary measures to safeguard themselves from being infected by Covid-19 positive persons.
On receiving the NCDC officials, the Kogi State Governor Alh. Yahaya Bello thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Presidential Task Force for rising to the occasion. He said the world must unite to defeat the virus.
The Governor reeled out the measures adopted by the State to flatten the curve on the spread of the virus in the State.
He said the country must move out of the pandemic and provide structures for economic recovery.
He also disclosed that he has decided to give full insurance to frontline health workers and also increase their hazard allowance from 30, 000 naira to 50,000 naira daily to further encourage them to put in their best.
Bello however said the state has resolved to comply with the protocols of the NCDC by putting the officials in quarantine for fourteen days and take their samples to ensure they are COVID-19 free. He predicated his decision on the fact that they came from an infested area.
The Officials however refused to be tested for COVID-19 and returned to Abuja.
Reason behind the NCDC Officials fear of being tested has raised concerns for the Government of Kogi State.
The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Kingsley Fanwo told newsmen that NCDC should come hard on its Officials for violating its rules.
“Today, the Governor showed the statesmanship in him once again by appreciating the support of the NCDC and defending the health interests of his people.
“NCDC quarantined the Chinese professionals that came to give them technical support and also took their samples for test. It is a normal practice and protocol set by NCDC.
“So NCDC will have a lot to explain as to why its officials refused to test for COVID-19. How can we be sure of their status? What are their fears? Why did NCDC send people who are afraid of test to our State? What was their intention?
“The officials that came have done an integrity blow to the works of the NCDC. Is there something they are hiding? It is time NCDC opened up and apologize to the good people of Kogi State.
“How will they encourage people to go for test when it’s own officials are afraid of test? This is sad” Fanwo said.