Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Fear and anxiety have enveloped the Federal Ministry of Health headquarters in Abuja, with reports that many senior officials of the ministry have tested positive for COVID-19.
There are strong indications that the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Health, located at the Federal Secretariat Complex, might be temporarily shut down for decontamination in order to contain further spread of COVlD-l9 among officials.
The Ministry of Health shares the same block with several other Federal Government agencies and parastatals with an unrestricted thoroughfare, which has increased the fears of further spread of the virus to other offices within the Federal Secretariat complex.
A senior official of the health ministry who spoke to Daily Sun on the condition of anonymity said that the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had a few weeks ago directed that COVID-19 testing be conducted on officials of the ministry who have been at work since the start of the federal lockdown.
The official continued: ‘The test was conducted on the staff as directed by the minister. It was concluded yesterday (Wednesday). Meanwhile, the result of the tests done earlier have begun to come in and many of the tests have returned positive. We are expecting more of the results soon and there are indications that many positive cases would be recorded, which may compel the minister to shut down the entire ministry for decontamination and other measures.’
A few days ago, some health correspondents who were in the Ministry for enquiries and other related matters, were harassed by security officials attached to the Ministry, who apparently, working on instructions denied the journalists access to the Ministry.
Meanwhile, On July 6th, the Director of Media and Publicity, Olujimi Oyetomi, in a message to some journalists seeking information said: ‘Please, note that unauthorized persons are not allowed into the Ministry for now. Use other platforms to get across.
‘Someone whom I couldn’t reach to forewarned was just embarrassed here a while ago. The Security men are under instructions for now, it was tough for me being called up to come and explain if I didn’t get the directive.’
In another message, he said, ‘There should be no visits without a prior invitation to Federal Ministry of Health headquarters especially Media and Public Relations Unit this week. This is an order from the Minister. The security men and the Chief Detail to the Minister have been strictly directed to enforce, please.’