From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Kaduna State Commissioner of Health Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni has reported a rising number of new COVID-19 infections in the last three weeks in the state, with a daily average of 100 cases.
According to the commissioner, one out of every three samples that were tested turns out to be COVID-19 positive, adding that the cases are even higher.
Dr Baloni revealed that the infection rates are higher in eight local governments, including Kaduna North and Kaduna South local government areas, Chikun, Igabi, Zaria, Sabon Gari, Jema’a, Lere and Soba local government areas.
The commissioner said that Kaduna North local government has the highest number of reported cases, adding that 47 people have so far died across the state, out of which two were health workers.
Dr Baloni revealed that Kaduna State now has eight testing centres located at Yusuf Dantsoho Memorial Hospital, Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Saminaka and Kafanchan General Hospitals, as well as Saye General Hospital, including additional centres in Zaria and Kaduna and Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital.
Dr Baloni said that testing is free and samples are being collected in all General Hospitals at the local governments, advising residents to get tested once they notice COVID-like symptoms.
The commissioner also dismissed insinuations that the recently held Kaduna Marathon game was responsible for the rise in new COVID-19 cases.
‘All the foreign athletes that came for the event were tested prior to entering Nigeria as Federal Government protocols demanded. They were tested in Kaduna and then tested in Lagos before departure,’ the commissioner said.
‘We had said prior to the event that it will be cancelled if the COVID-19 figures prior to the marathon surged. We did not have such a surge at the time,’ she added.
In a similar development, the Kaduna State Commissioner of Education, Dr Shehu Usman Makarfi, has said that all schools in Kaduna State, regardless of their ownership, have been closed so as to check the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr Makarfi, who made the announcement at the media chat on Wednesday night, clarified that the closure is not limited to government-owned schools, saying that all schools located in the state are affected by the directive.
‘Public and private schools, Islamiyya schools, state and federal government-owned tertiary schools, all institutions of learning in whatever name or guise, are included in the directive,’ he said.
The commissioner said that the state government took the decision to save the lives of pupils and students in the light of the second wave of COVID-19 infections, stating that ‘learning is for the living.’
According to Dr Makarfi, the people who are blaming the government for taking what they describe as ‘drastic measures’ will be the same people that will blame the government for ‘laxity’ in the event of fatalities owing to the virus.
The commissioner revealed that ‘some schools had recorded COVID-19 infections among students and teachers. As the figures rose, we thought it was better to reduce one source of contact among people from different homes in the interest of everyone.
‘As per resumption in January 2021, our decision will be guided by the advice of the Ministry of Health. Schools must be a safe place for learning, not an incubator of disease and ill-health,’ he said.