Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Federal Government has commended Cross River State for its pragmatic efforts in containing the spread of COVID-19 in the State.
The government’s position was made known by Dr. Omobolanle Olowu, Mni, the Team Leader of the Ministerial Task Force to Cross River State on the COVID-19 pandemic while being hosted by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu.
Dr. Olowu, who led the 7-man team for a two-day visit, disclosed that while other states were dilly-dallying, the Cross River State government took the bull by the horns and this partly explains while the state has not been ravaged by the ongoing global pandemic.
She said: “I commend the governor, for his proactivenesss because the state started in January while the other states were still dilly-dallying and living in denial that it will not come to us and it is only for people who travel abroad.
“But Cross River State took the bull by the horns and seeing the figures in America, UK, it said we will not sit down and fold its arms untill they start recording cases.
“You proactively started, shut down your borders, started producing masts and even screening which i want to say well done and congratulations.
“I believe that must be the reason why the state up till now is yet to record a case and also to say congratulations to the governor for the garment factory that is has produced 1.5 million masks up to date and distributed free of charge to the citizens of the state.
“I will take it back to the President and the minister that the issue of face masks is something that is taken very seriously in the state and we saw it even in the airport and task force teams are in place enforcing its usage. It s commendable.
“Besides, the fact that your garment factory is producing Personal Protective Equipment is something we should give you accolades for because this is something that is needed and wanted all over the world.
“Everybody is looking for PPE’s and yet it is right under our nose. So we will take this back to the minister and even the President to see how the garment factory will be patronised and even make it a campaign that even people from outside the country can come and patronise.”, she said.
She added that the team is in the state to dialogue and then be able to strategise on how the federal government can come in to fill in the gaps.
Also speaking, a representative of the National Centre for Diseases Control, Nwachukwu William, also applauded the state particularly in the area of prevention.
He said the NCDC has been in the forefront of containing the outbreak of the virus in the country and pledged the team would support the state in the area of surveillance in the international borders.
Earlier in her presentation, the Chairman of the State’s COVID 19 Response Team and Commissioner for Health DR. BEtta Edu, gave a time line of the steps taken by the government to forestall the outbreak of the virus in the state.
She disclosed that the government set up an Emergency Operations Centre as early as January to help check the outreak of the virus in adition to recruiting 3,000 primary health care workers and 1,500 town criersto take the message to the grassroots.
She further said the government introduced the no-mask-no-movement, 1.5 million free face masts as well as 200, 000 locally produced hand sanitizers which were distributed free of charge to all residents of the state.
She appealed for capacity building in the area of surveillance so as to prevent the uncontrolled migration of people into the state as well as the establishment of a Vaccine Research and Production Factory in the state.