From Noah Ebije and Sola, Kaduna
Kaduna State government has warned that if the rate of COVID-19 continues to rise, it would have no option than to impose another lockdown.
The government said that public spaces, including schools, markets, offices and places of worship might be temporarily closed if people failed to observe COVID-19 protocols meant to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, who gave this warning at a press conference yesterday, said that Kaduna State was experiencing rising cases of the disease.
“In absolute and relative terms, Kaduna State is now recording high infection figures reminiscent of the first wave of COVID-19 spread in April, May and June 2020,’’ she said.
Mohammed-Baloni recalled that “the lowering of the infection rate following the first wave encouraged the government to approve the recommendation of the state COVID-19 Task Force for a significant reopening of the state.
‘’However, we are saddened to report that the conditions that compelled the 75-day lockdown of the state are now being replicated,’’ she lamented.
According to Dr Baloni, 74 positive results were recorded in the state from 531 samples on November 26, adding that “the quantum of infections since then suggests both high infection rates and the reality that a new wave of infections was spreading across the state.’
“As at Friday, December 11, the state recorded 117 positive cases from 518 samples. This translates to almost one in four samples testing positive,’’ she pointed out.
The commissioner said that government had “expected some increase in infections after the reopening of schools, markets, places of worship and recreational centres. But the figures easily outstrip our estimates. While infections cut across age groups, this new wave especially affects those aged between 10 and 35. (55%),’’ she maintained.
Dr Baloni noted that there is now a danger to lives and livelihoods with the renewed COVID-19 infections, adding that “if the spread continues at the current rate, it may challenge and overwhelm the health system despite our efforts to improve the resilience of that sector.’’
The commissioner appealed to the people of Kaduna State to observe COVID-19 preventive protocols in order to protect themselves and their families from infection.