COVID-19: PRESS STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR, DR IFEANYI OKOWA, GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE, TO THE PEOPLE OF DELTA STATE ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
As you are aware, the world is currently battling with the Coronavirus, (also known as COVID-19) pandemic. As at March 16 this year, cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 151 countries. In Nigeria, there have been 12 confirmed cases with one death recorded so far. There is yet no confirmed case of coronavirus in Delta State. However, we have taken the following proactive steps to prevent the spread of the disease and stop transmission if it occurs.
The State Government has already established a purpose-built and well-equipped isolation centre at the Federal Medical Centre in Asaba to handle any emergency.
We have embarked on training of healthcare personnel to work at the isolation ward. Training and engagement of 129 Red Cross workers across the State is on-going Identified and established holding rooms in all zonal and all state hospitals across the State
Training of five members of the Rapid Response Team in each Local Government Area.
Training of laboratory scientists on sample collection. Arrival cards to be completed by all in-bound passengers and crew in the two airports (Warri and Asaba) and three seaports (Warri, Koko, and Sapele).
All passengers arriving Asaba airport are already subject to temperature measurement. All incoming sea vessels to observe a 14-day quarantine period to be cleared by the Port health personnel before birthing in any seaport in Delta State.
We are also assisting in the local production of alcohol-based hand sanitisers. The Ministries of Health and Information have been mandated to intensify public enlightenment campaigns to inform and sensitize the public on safety protocols regarding COVID-19.
2. Fellow Deltans, while this Government will spare no effort or resources to ensure the health, safety and protection of citizens, it is important for us to know that observing proper hygiene and World Health Orgainsation-mandated safety protocols remain the best way to protect ourselves and stop the spread of this virus.
Some Important Facts About COVID-19
- There is currently no cure for the disease.
- The virus is believed to spread mainly by person-to-person contact.
- It can be transmitted through handshakes.
- It can also spread through coughing and sneezing by a carrier; the droplets can fall on the mouths and noses of people around, or possibly inhaled.
- How to Protect Yourself
- The best way to prevent this virus is to avoid being exposed to it.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick or appear to be sick.
- Practise social distancing; avoid handshakes and hugs. Maintain about five feet distance when talking with people.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds after you leave the office, workshop, market, bus/taxi, motor parks, and public gathering of any sort. Do the same after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If water and soap are not readily available, use an alcohol-based sanitiser.
- When you cough, cover your mouth with a clean, disposable tissue or with your bent elbow.
- If you have cough or high temperature, stay away from others as much as possible.
- Very importantly, avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth with unwashed hands.
I want to appeal to all of us to remain calm and vigilant. We must not panic. We can easily overcome this threat if we abide by the above measures and all other information from the National Centre For Disease Control (NCDC).
We will easily defeat the spread of this virus if everyone sees himself/herself as a potential carrier who does not want to spread the virus. To adopt a superstitious approach as many of us do that ‘it is not my portion’ could prove to be fatal.
This is no time for self-medication. If you notice at any point in time that you have fever, do not hesitate to call on the relevant authorities/ or visit the nearest hospital.
3. Henceforth, I wish to direct as follows:
All primary, secondary and tertiary institutions are to be closed effective Thursday, March 26, 2020 for 30 days.
Parents should endeavour to provide hand sanitizers for their children.
Hand wash stations must also be provided at easily identifiable points in the markets. The leaders of the various market associations to please take note.
Offices must ensure that they are fitted with the right type of sanitizers.
Supermarkets, malls, churches and other places of worship should provide hand sanitizers for customers/worshippers.
4. Finally, I wish to emphasize that we shall overcome this threat. We must take precaution, yes. But panic, CAPITAL NO! We are carefully monitoring developments around the country and the State and will update Deltans accordingly and, where necessary, take drastic actions.
I advise all Deltans to desist from publishing unverified information capable of causing panic and fear, especially on the social media. At this point, what we must fear most is the spread of false information not even the virus itself; infodemic is a greater danger than the pandemic. Deltans are, therefore, far advised to get information from ONLY official channels.
5. These are the numbers to call in case of emergency.
- 0803 075 8179 – State Epidemiologist
- 0803 507 8541 – State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer
- 0803 352 1961 – State Incident Manager
- 0906 503 1241 – State Health Educator
Thank you for your time and attention.
God bless us all.
Office of the Governor