John Adams, Minna
No fewer than 27 persons have been quarantined in an isolation centre in Minna, the Niger State capital, following suspicion that they might have had contact with a suspected persons infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The 27 persons, who are being closely monitored by the state COVID-19 committee headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Matene, are mostly returnees from various parts of the country.
The state Commissioner of Health and Hospital Services, Dr Mohammed Makun Sidi, made the disclosure on Tuesday evening after a visit to one of the isolation centres situated at Shaun village, a suburb of Minna.
This is coming just as the chairman of the state’s COVID-19 task force, who is also the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Matene, expressed displeasure about the low level of compliance to the restriction order by the government to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Alhaji Matene, accompanied by the commissioners of health, Makun Sidi and that of transport, Hajiya Ramatu Yar’adua, took a tour of Minna metropolis to observe the level of compliance, concluding that only 60 per cent compliance was achieved.
He warned that the full weight of the law would be applied to those found violating the stay-at-home order, saying that the directive is in the interest of the public as government cannot fold its hands and allow the virus to spread.
The Commissioner for Health explained that among the 27 people being quarantined is a Lagos-based indigene of Mashehun Local Government Area, whose close family members were said to have reported his condition to the committee.
The suspect, according to him, was said to have returned to Makera village from Lagos stricken with serious coughing and sneezing fits which prompted the individual’s family to call the COVID-19 task force for their intervention.
Makun Sidi said the family members of the suspect denied him access into the family house on his arrival from Lagos until the task force went to pick him.
The 26 other people are those the individual boarded a truck with when he tried to escape from the town after he got wind of his possible arrest by the task force.
“Basically, we have these 27 persons here that might have had contact with some of the people that have contracted the coronavirus disease, coming from an area considered as an epicentre in Lagos.
“Although it has not been confirmed that they were positive of the pandemic, but the issue is that they were coming from the epicentre and because of the directive of the World Health Organisation ( WHO) and the Nigeria Disease Control Centre( NCDC) to quarantine such people, that is what we are doing and that is why they are being quarantined, in order for them to obey the quarantine rules, in this isolated place at the Social Mobilisation Centre, behind Police Secondary School, Minna.
“It will be a minimum of about 14 days and pending the outcome of the tests we conducted on them that has been taken for analysis at NCDC, in Abuja,” Makun Sidi said.
Niger has no reported or confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.