Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Twenty students writing the West African Examination Council(WAEC) exams in Bayelsa have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health and chairman, Implementation Committee of the COVID-19 State Task Force, Dr Inodu Apoku, disclosed this during a meeting of the task force with Governor Douye Diri at the Government House, Yenagoa
According to Dr Apoku, 600 candidates writing the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in the state were screened out of which 20 tested positive to the virus.
He said the total number of COVID-19 test samples in the state from inception of the outbreak to date was 10,234, laboratory-confirmed cases stood at 370, number of active cases 24 while the total number of deaths was 21.
Diri during the meeting directed all civil servants from grade levels 1-12 to resume work from Tuesday, September 1.
The Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, in a press release quoted the Governor as stating that COVID-19 restrictions were being reviewed following the flattening of the pandemic curve in the state.
He directed the Head of Service, Mrs Biobelemoye Charles-Onyeama, to ensure that workers abide by all COVID-19 safety guidelines when they resume.
On the resumption of schools, the Governor noted that while students in terminal classes were writing their examinations, he directed that all primary six pupils to also resume academic activities as the government was evaluating the situation pending when other classes would resume.
Diri also set up a sub-committee made up of the Technical Adviser on Security, Chief Boma Spero-Jack Apoku and the service commanders to liaise with proprietors of night clubs, supermarkets and banks to seek ways of ensuring compliance with the presidential guidelines on COVID-19.
The Governor, who stressed that the presidential curfew from 10 pm to 4 am was still in place, insisted on the use of face masks, sanitisers and maintaining social distance in order to avert a second wave of the infection as predicted by health experts.
‘We insist on the use of face masks, especially in urban areas. We are appealing to the sensibilities of people to comply with the COVID-19 protocols and we need to sustain the enlightenment on the existence of the virus.
‘Our duty is to ensure that the presidential directive on the curfew is obeyed and fully implemented. We do not want to be seen as a state that is acting contrary to such directives,’ he said.
Also speaking, the Chief Medical Director, Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH), Prof Dimie Ogoina, expressed gratitude to Senator Diri for the establishment of a molecular laboratory diagnostic centre and approval of the employment of 10 medical personnel for the management of COVID-19 patients.
Prof Ogoina was also full of praises for the Governor on his efforts at linking the NDUTH to the independent power project, which has been providing 24-hours power supply to the hospital.