Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River State government has raised the alarm over inadequate testing kits provided by the Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) to embark on testing of samples.
The government equally decried the impression being created in some quarters that the state must have an index case of COVID-19 despite evidence to the contrary that Cross River does not have any case.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, who stated this while giving an update on efforts by the government to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 in Calabar on Tuesday, maintained that was absolutely wrong for people to insinuate that the state had tested enough and that was why they had not heard any case.
Edu said: “We were told we have not tested enough that’s why we have not had a case even as only 50 sample collection kits were sent from the federal government to Cross River with a population of 4.5 million people.
“With these kits, how many tests do you expect to produce in a week? We need more of the sample kits for us to be able to get samples in their numbers as they have asked for. These things are not available and you expect us to embark on community sample collection to end to Irua or Ebonyi?” she said.
Decrying the pressure on the state by some quarters to embark on community testing, she explained that this cannot be done because of the limitation as every sickness is not COVID-19.
“Its amazing and indeed mind troubling that persons at different levels will continue to insist that Cross River State must have a case. In spite of our efforts to contain an outbreak of the virus in the state, we have not had commendation from the federal government or the NCDC boss that we have done well.
“Yet we hear people say that all states in Nigeria must have Covid-19 and it is almost becoming a battle to ensure that whether true or not all states in Nigeria have Covid-19.
“The federal government should isolate states that have done well during this period in the way that they require. Everybody does not need a ventilator. We don’t have a case now and don’t need a ventilator as an emergency.
“What we need is an emergency is to keep our borders shut so that the over 50,000 Cameroonians that are trying to get into Cross River State can be held out during this period.
“We need stipends to pay the surveillance officers who will go round and look for any of these cases in our rural communities. Besides, we are spending so much on the local vigilante, chiefs and government officials; we need help at this time,” he stated.
She also called on the government to set up a test centre for the state particularly at the international borders and help in constructing a vaccine production factory in the overall interest of the country.