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By: Amawu, Cletus Albert Amawu.
The Cross River State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Betta Edu, and Chairman COVID-19 State Taskforce, today Wednesday, in Calabar, addressed the Press and made known the position of the State. Hence, according to her, the State need more of test kits, funds and border policing to containing the Coronavirus pandemic than anticipating a case as projected in some quarters.
According to Dr. Betta, Cross River State, bordering the Cameroon that currently has recorded over 2,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 needed to be commended for her proactive measures as the first State in the country to have inaugurated a Taskforce in January and started in earnest, the screening of persons entering the State through the Airport, Seaport and international border.
She appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari, to support with funds and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to provide more test kits to carter for over 4.5million Cross Riverians as she lamented the inadequacy of the only 50 test kits sent to the from the Federal Government. With more test kits, more samples will be taken across the State and sent to either Irrua in Benin or Ebonyi State for laboratory testing.
She reiterate the position of the State that, any NCDC staff expected into the State to commence collection of samples would be quarantined for 14days.
As a State, Dr. Betta, said; “we’re more interested in the prevention of the virus than its management, reasons why we have shut down our borders and all land entrances to prevent the spread of the virus, hence, not compulsory that all States should be affected.
The State Government is doing all it can in her powers to ensure that, it remains COVID-19 free.
As the No Mask, No Movement policy had gone a long way in the fight against the pandemic.”
On testing, she said, the health surveillance personnel at the border areas have been asked to focus more on persons with likely symptoms. “We will only test any suspected case with COVID-19 symptoms that meets the NCDC requirement, warning that, the virus does not move, but the people move with the virus.”
She emphasized that the State current status doesn’t really require ventilators, rather more of test kits; “We don’t need ventilators at the moment; what we want are test kits to help get more samples for laboratory analysis.
“States should be treated on needs by needs case bases. We’ll plead with them to come in immediately and Set Up a Vaccine Pharmaceutical Plant in Cross River, that’s the only one way we can mitigate against this virus and one way we can keep the Nigeria Economy afloat, even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.”
Dr. Betta, summarised the four cardinal appeal thus:
1. States can exist in a country without recording a case of COVID-19. Hence, Nigeria should use Cross River as a State with good experience they can learn from.
2. As a matter of urgency, the Federal Government should come in to support Cross River State, especially in security of the national borders so that, Cameroonians will not come in through bush tracts and formerly designated routes.
3. We’re pleading with the Federal Government to send it agencies to support us and continue to lockdown our inter-state borders; the virus does not move, people move and move with the virus.
4. We ask that the Federal Government to Set Up a test lab for us to enable for faster samples collection, sponsor the Cross River Garment Factory to produce more face masks for Cross Riverians and other States of the federation and to reduce the pressure on Cross River State, she concluded.

Amawu Cletus Albert Amawu

I'm a Journalist, Host/Producer of The Verdict, your voice of conscience on FAD FM 93.1, Calabar, Public Affairs Commentator, Social Change Agent.

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