John Adams, Minna
The Niger State Government has described as fake and untrue media reports and online videos circulating on social media alleging that COVID-19 patients in the State are protesting poor conditions of facilities at an isolation centre in Minna, the state capital.
A statement by the Niger State Task Force on COVID-19 in Minna on Thursday said that the said media reports and the online video is an attempt to discredit “the frantic efforts the government is making towards combating the spread of the pandemic in the state.
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According to the statement signed by the Vice-Chairman of the State COVID-19 task force who is also the Commissioner for Health and Hospital Management Services, Dr Mohammed Makun Sidi, there are adequate facilities at the two isolation centres in Minna suitable and comfortable enough for those under quarantine.
Makun Sidi explained in the isolation centre in question, “there are two toilet facilities, one for females and one for males. The isloation centre has 24 hours of electricity as it has recently been connected to a 33KVA and standby generator.
“The relations of the patient who raised the false alarm did not want the woman to be quarantined. So, they started making trouble, demanding for her release. Out of mischief, they also went on to do a video in order to discredit the efforts of the state government.
“However, in line with the guidelines by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), both the woman and her brothers have been quarantined.”
The task force also reiterated that the woman who should not have been in Niger State because of her condition decided to leave Kano State on her own accord to seek medical attention in the State.
“Her reason for coming to Niger State according to her was because of her inability to access health care services in Kano State. So she decided to contravene Niger COVID-19 order and came back to Suleja, Niger State.”
Due to the “alertness of good-spirited individuals who raised an alarm,” Dr Sidi said, the woman “was immediately picked up. Her relations, however, followed her from Suleja in protest down to Minna,” the task force explained.
Dr Sidi regretted that of all the patients who have undergone quarantine at the facility, it is only the woman in question that has found the facilities unsuitable.
According to him, “Niger State has well-equipped isolation/quarantine centres and those who are being quarantined are well taken care of,” stressing that the purported online video and the media reports “was the handwork of mischief makers who would rather not see any good in what government is doing.”
Meanwhile, two new COVID-19 positive cases have been reported in the State, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to eight.
The commissioner disclosed the information while giving a status update on COVID-19 in the State, saying that one of the new cases is the husband of the woman who allegedly protested against the facilities at the isolation centre.
The woman had been picked up from Suleja was among returnees from Kano State who have all tested positive for the virus. The results her relatives suspected to have had contact with her is still being awaited, the commissioner said.
Dr Sidi identified the other new case as Mallam Yunusa Idris, a returnee driver from Kano State whose employer, a former staff of the Segmentary National Control Centre, had died last week of an undisclosed illness in Kano. Idris was already placed in quarantine before his sample returned positive.
The commissioner revealed that the Limawa index case, a tanker driver from Lagos whose family reported him to the state COVID-19 task force, was now negative and awaiting the result of a second test before he can be cleared for discharge.