Fred Itua, Abuja
Anxiety and fear have taken over residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, over the increase in the number of persons that have tested positive for COVID-19 in villages and rural communities.
Daily Sun learnt that the discovery of 12 COVID-19 positive cases last Saturday in Mabushi District has created fear among most residents on the possibility of more unknown carriers within the community.
One case was also uncovered in Gishiri village, another densely-populated, low-income community in Abuja. It was gathered that the 12 new cases were discovered from 270 random samples collected from residents of the two communities. None of the identified cases in Mabushi and Gishiri had any recent history of foreign travel nor did they come in contact with a returnee from abroad, fuelling fears that more people could have contracted the virus in the FCT through community transmission.
An epidemiologist in the FCT Administration, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the situation was worrisome. According to him, officials are working round the clock to trace all contacts related to the identified cases.
“Due to the fear of community transmission, we have embarked on community active case search. We focused on Mpape due to its proximity to Maitama, where we had a lot of cases. Then we went to Gishiri. We got one positive case. What is worrisome is the situation in Mabushi, where we have gotten 12 positive cases already,” he said.
By Saturday night, the FCT had 81 confirmed cases. There are 56 active cases, while 23 patients have been discharged, and two dead.
Last week, officials of FCT Administration, carried out a “Community Active Case Search” in various communities of Abuja. The 90 samples taken from Mpape community all returned negative.
Officials of the Health Secretariat of the FCT Administration are expected to carry out more random tests in the six area councils that make up the FCT, Abuja Municipal Area Council, Abuja, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kwali and Kuje.
Meanwhile, more residents are calling for the compulsory isolation of those who attended the burial of the late Chief of State to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari.
Residents told Daily Sun that the FCT Administration erred to have looked the other way while hundreds of people attended the burial. They wondered why the FCT Administration would shut down churches and other religious centres, and yet permit hundreds of residents to attend the funeral of a victim of COVID-19.
Though the Health and Human Services secretary of the FCT Administration, Dr. Mohammed Kawu, has pledged that those not properly kitted during the burial had been identified and would be isolated, Abuja residents have called for the isolation of dignitaries who flouted the social distancing protocol.
“All the individuals, including the man in question, that participated in the burial and were not properly kitted, have been identified and are being isolated. Necessary tests will be conducted on all of them to determine their level of exposure and ensure that they do not infect other people.
“The administration has also taken steps to ensure that all future burials of victims of COVID-19 are conducted in line with protocols established by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control,” Kawu said.