Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Borno State said it will step up campaigns on social distancing and other measures to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) especially with increasing cases.
Commissioner for Health, Dr Salisu Kwayabura while giving an update on COVID-19 on behalf of the committee on the prevention and control of the virus in the state, expressed concern over the increase in confirmed cases.
Borno has recorded 53 cases and nine deaths since April 18 when it had the first (index) case.
“We want to intensify our campaigns on social distancing. We need to intensify contact tracing. We have recorded high mortality in the last few days,” the commissioner said.
He explained that all the nine persons that died as a result of COVID-19 complications, had “pre-mobid medical condition.” He said this meant that the patients were struggling with some health challenges before contacting Coronavirus, adding that “people with such condition hardly survive COVID-19.”
He said the state committee had increased the COVID-19 survelliance team from 15 to 20 due to the increase in the cases. He said the Northeast Development Commission (NEDC) had awarded contract for the expansion of the state isolation centre to accommodate more beds should there be more cases.
The state Commissioner for information, Babakura Jatto appealed to the people to observe the social distancing even as Muslims observe the Ramadan fast. He said the state government understands that prayers are needed to halt the virus but urged the people to pray at home and abstain from congregational prayers for now.
“COVID-19 is real. It is in Borno and has killed nine people. We must desist from gathering. Every resident should take the campaigns to his or her neighbour. Let us all stop this deadly disease now. It is dangerous,” he said.
He also disclosed that the three Imams that conducted Friday Muslim prayers last Friday had been sanctioned by the Shehu of Borno through the Chief Imam of Borno