Breaking: NCDC official flees Kogi after Gov. Bello orders him to go on Isolation for 14 days

There was a mild drama in Kogi state on Thursday night when the officials of the the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) visited Governor Yahaya Bello during a working visit to the state.

The governor reportedly ordered the leader of the NCDC officials, Dr Andrew Noah to go into isolation at the state quarantine centre for 14 days because the official shook hands with the state Director of Protocol while exchanging microphone after speaking to introduce his team to the audience

The governor said that the step was to ensure that the laid down proceeding of checkmating the scourge by NCDC is strictly followed.

Recall that Kogi and Cross River are the only states in Nigeria with no record of Covid-19. The NCDC has attributed it to lack of submission of samples for testing and even insinuated that the states are operating in denial. Kogi on the other hand, had accused the NCDC of trying to allocate a fake case to the state.

On Thursday, however, the NCDC sent a delegation of rapid response team to ascertain the true status of Kogi as a covid-19 free state.

The team led by Dr Noah Andrew who had arrived the Lugard house, seat of the state government, to present a letter titled “Deployment of rapid response squad to help in fighting Covid-19,” said that the mission of the centre was to provide logistics to all states of the Federation of which Kogi cannot be left out.

He said that two members of the team would be left behind to help the state and support her efforts of the state government already in place, “We are here to support the state in shipping swab and samples and ascertian the preparedness of the state in fighting Covid-19”.

He urged Government and people to observe social distancing and use face mask at all times as part of the measures to fight the scourge.

Speaking shortly after receiving the letter, governor Bello outlined steps taken so far by the state to fight the covid-19 pandemic, stressing that the state is highly experienced in fighting infectious diseases such as Lassa fever, malaria and the experience have been brought to bear in fighting Covid-19.

“So You will notice that different from the practice in most places, we set up a Kogi State COVID-19 and Lassa Fever Squadron Committee to coordinate our response to the Covid-19 pandemic while ensuring we do not lose sight of existing epidemics like Lassa Fever which has already killed more people this year in Nigeria than the coronavirus.

“We were the first state to officially release a web application which the general public can deploy to self-assess for CoviD-19 risk. That app has proved to be popular and effective in tackling fear among the populace in the face of an unknown killer disease.

“We have had over 200,000 engagements with that app, over 14,000 completed self-assessments revealing scores of cases which required further investigation before CoviD-19 could be ruled out. This is great as we all know how fear and disinformation are often overlooked but highly dangerous co-travellers with disease outbreaks and other phenomena which disrupt the social order.

“To improve our degree of certainty when ruling out cases, our Commissioner for Health, the State Epidemiologist and other senior medical personnel have had to personally follow up on as many of the feedback cases as possible, in both urban and remote locations. They have been able to determine in a professional manner based on the NCDC and WHO criteria that none of the suspected cases qualified as a CoviD-19 case.

“Moreover, it has been over 3, 4, even 5 weeks in some instances since some of these cases were investigated and cleared and we have not had even one case of Covid-19. This goes to show that our processes are thorough enough. This is how the foundation for our zero CoviD-19 status was laid and how it is sustained till today.

“Our people are adequately sensitised in all languages and locations throughout the state about CoviD-19. As much as practicable Kogites now observe social distancing, handwashing and other protocols for prevention of infection.

“The Kogi State Ministry of Health has deployed health personnel to all the 239 Wards of the State, 2 focal persons per ward, who constantly sensitize the people on the dangers of the virus, communicate news or even rumours of suspected cases to the incident committee or taskforce for investigation and also assist in contact tracing.

“We have set up 3 modern Isolation/ Containment Centres in the State having a combined capacity of 130 bed spaces. These facilities currently lie unused. It is our prayer and our determination that these isolation centres will remain vacant until the pandemic is over.

“We have provided emergency and toll free numbers for the general public to call in and report suspected cases of Covid-19 at no cost whatsoever. We have also fielded many of such calls. All of them turned out to be false alarms upon investigation and did not meet the criteria from the NCDC for cases which should be sampled for testing.

“In the circumstances, we cannot manufacture cases in order to be counted among the states which have recorded same. As a Governor I hear there are ‘benefits’ for having CoviD-19 cases in your state, well, I am not interested”.

However, the NCDC officials who were to go into isolation before commencing work fled from the state shortly after the governor’s directive, which apparently did not go down well with them, it was learnt.

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