The Enugu State Ministry of Health has reacted to the two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state, urging the public, especially state residents, not to panic as health personnel were already responding to the situation.
An update from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday night had reported that two cases in Enugu State tested positive for COVID-19.
Earlier, the Enugu State government had announced the closing of all markets, land borders and inter-state transportation in the state until further notice, exempting those on medical emergency services.
Reacting shortly after the NCDC announced the two cases in Enugu, via its Twitter account, the Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Health, Dr Ifeanyi Agujiobi, confirmed that “the two patients, who presented on their own, tested positive for Corona Virus (COVID-19).”
Dr Agujiobi disclosed that the patients were returnees from United Kingdom (UK), stating: “It is important to inform the public that the patients voluntarily contacted the Enugu State Ministry of Health, on arrival from United Kingdom (UK) and requested for the COVID-19 test which came out positive.
“So far, the patients have remained in isolation and the Enugu State Multisectoral Rapid Response Team has commenced contact tracing,” he said.
The permanent secretary, who expressed the state government’s gratitude to the patients for voluntarily reporting to the state Ministry of Health “following the announcement that all returnees from overseas in the last 14 days should report for evaluation,” encouraged all those who returned recently from overseas to contact the Enugu State Public Health Department, through the following dedicated lines – 08182555550 or 09022333833.
He advised all residents of the state to continue to observe a high level of personal hygiene and maintain the social distancing protocol and, where possible, stay home.
Closing the borders and markets, the state government in a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Uchenna Ortuanya, stressed that all markets in the state, no matter the size, will be closed until further notice, with effect from 6 pm on Tuesday, March 31st.
The statement added that other categories exempted from the closure include “those dealing in food items, water, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and other basic items of daily domestic need which must comply with the standard hygiene protocol as stipulated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), including frequent handwashing with soap, use of sanitiser and social distancing.”
According to Prof Ortuanya, “all local government chairmen are hereby directed to ensure strict compliance with the closure of markets within their respective local government councils, without prejudice to the exceptions above.”
While appealing for understanding from residents and citizens of the state “at this difficult time as no sacrifice is too much to save the lives of our people,” the state government directed security agencies and the State Medical Response Team to enforce all the directives.