Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
The Gombe State special task force on COVID-19 says it has identified and advised four people to go into self-isolation over their contact with the Bauchi State governor who has been tested positive for the virus.
Briefing journalists at a press conference on Thursday in Gombe, the state Commissioner of Health, Dr Mohammed Ahmed Gana, confirmed that no signs or symptoms of the virus was seen on any of the four people. However, as a precautionary measure, “we advised them to go self-isolation while we await test results from the samples taken from them. We are also in close surveillance and are monitoring them,” Dr Gana said.
He explained that the state has decided to introduce daily press briefings so as to discourage rumours about the disease.
“We have had enough of the rumours being spread and we are telling our people that this should be the only channel for them to get information about COVID-19,” he said.
The commissioner disclosed that the task force is considering shutting down any section of or the whole state once a case is confirmed. “We would rather shut down and suffer than to have the virus spread and kill us all,” the commissioner declared.
He assured that the state is on red alert with the activation of a response team in the 11 Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, “with the state-level response team to coordinate activities of responding to emergencies and suspected cases.
“We are in the process equipping our isolation centre in the state specialist hospital. We have also converted a hospital built by Yamaltu-Deba LGA in Kwadon community, which was handed over to the state government for upgrading to a cottage hospital, to an isolation centre for management of mild and moderate cases of COVID-19,” Dr Gana said, adding that more hospitals are being identified and converted to isolation centres, while the task force is working on building the capacity of the state to be able to detect and test suspected cases without travelling out to Abuja.
He urged residents to “stay safe and observe all precautionary measures outlined, while also avoiding rumour-mongering. These rumors are capable of killing people, let’s face the reality of COVID-19 as it is not a joking matter,” the health commissioner added.
Also speaking at the press conference, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly which had on Thursday been closed down for 3 weeks, Abubakar Sadiq Kurba, revealed that the House is on the trail of a social media user who posted rumours about a member of the House being in close contact with the victim confirmed in Bauchi.
A Facebook post had on Wednesday indicated that the Gombe State House of Assembly was shut down as a result of a member having had close contact with Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed. The Speaker argued that the closing of the House was based on the advice of the state government and task force.
He said: “None of our members have been affected, the picture of the member shown with the governor of Bauchi was taken during the North-East Governors’ Forum and it far before the outbreak. We should desist from rumour-mongering,” he said, urging residents to engage in prayers over the global pandemic.