A group, South East Coronavirus Intervention Network (SCIN) has urged government at all levels and other concerned agencies to deepen efforts aimed at combating the spread of the noval Corona virus in the country.
This was as the group insisted that there are still lapses to address in the fight against the pandemic, stressing that over 50 percent of people living in the rural communities are not yet abreast with the reality the of the scourge.
The group which made the appeal while featuring in a radio programme, Darling Clinic, (107.3) Owerri, yesterday, said that until majority of the people are conscious of the virus, efforts aimed at preventing its spread may amount to futility.
Speaking, Chioma Egbuagha (Team Lead), Juliet Oguekusi (Health Analyst) and Collins Osuji (Media Analyst) said that aside lacking basic information, there are misconceptions among rural dwellers about the virus.
“From our experience and interactions with some of these people in our communities, it is obvious that while some still perceive Covid-19 as a fake, some others are fed with wrong information about the dreaded virus.
“For instance, we met people who don’t believe that the virus is real or can kill them since according to them, they are Africans and Africans have strong immune to fight it once contacted.
“We also met people who told us that the intake of alcohol such as kai-kai, herbs and other forms of concussions can take care of the virus. This is against what you and I know because as at today, the vaccine to the virus has not yet been discovered.” Oguekusi said.
“We are not saying that the government has not done or is not doing enough in the fight against the pandemic but we expect and appeal to them to up their game. Honestly, people expect more.
“But still, the fight should not be left to government alone, that was why we joined and still appeal that all hands must be deck towards eradicating the virus.” Osuji added
Earlier, Egbuagha said that SCIN comprising Nzukolabs and LearnFactory with support from Ford Foundation, will not relent in rendering services that will complement the existing efforts.
She also urged the government and other concerned agencies to support SCIN to ensure that its objectives and goals are achieved for the betterment of the entire humanity.
The Chairman of Imo State Task Force on COVID-19, Prof. Maurice Iwu, says it is criminal for people not to wear face mask considering the way COVID-19 pandemic is spreading recently.
Iwu made the assertion on Tuesday in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the recent activities of the team in the state.
He said that his team was in Government House to present “The Imo Task force COVID-19 Report” to the state Gov. Hope Uzodimma, indicating the end to the first phase of the fight against the pandemic.
He said the team had entered the second phase of the fight against the pandemic, a phase he said. would be more dangerous and which called for more adherence to the COVID-19 protocols
“We have ended the first phase of our assignment which dealt mainly on the fight against the virus and preventing it from entering into the state and has handed the report to the governor.
“The second phase is very important, but more dangerous which majors mainly on stopping community transmission of the virus with the involvement of every segment of the society,” he said.
The taskforce chairman said his team had met and deliberated on how best to tackle the virus from spreading.
He said that 2,064 people had been tested for the virus in the state, noting that while 389 of the number came out positive, 365 were negative and blamed the increase in number to peoples’ complacent attitude.
According to him, “people are yet to come to terms with the existence of COVID-19. They say they are yet to have the identity of people that have it, see them before they could believe, which is a very dangerous position to take.
“This second phase of the fight is critical and calls for people to observe the COVID-19 protocol of hand washing with soap under running water, use of alcohol based sanitiser, social distancing and wearing of face mask.
“I want to say that it is criminal for one not to wear a face mask at this stage. It is not very okay to wear only the shield, but you have to combine it with face mask for effectiveness.
“My team and I in this second phase, is trying to strategise on how best to stop the virus from spreading. It is a very difficult and a dangerous phase all together in the fight against COVID-19.”
Iwu said the report presented to the governor catalogued all that the team had done in the fight against the virus in the last few months and what the virus was all about which would be useful for research and other academic works
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, has expressed dismay over the nonchalant attitude of many Imo residents in not adhering strictly to the dreaded Coronavirus disease (COVID -19) precautionary guidelines, especially wearing of face masks.
Uzodimma, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku, said this yesterday while receiving one transport ventilator and other COVID-19 medical items from Seplat Petroleum Development Company, led by an official of the oil firm, Emeka Onyeagba, at the Government House, Owerri.
In Adamawa, the state government has dismissed rumours that private and public schools in the state will be reopened this month, saying that all schools remain closed indefinitely until there are evidences that the corona virus pandemic spread has dropped to a reasonable level.
Secretary to the state government and chairman, state task force on COVID19 Alhaji Bashiru Ahmad, told The Guardian that the pronouncement of the federal government was misinterpreted by people, pointing out that the FG directed only final year students in secondary schools to return for their final year examinations.
“It is very clear that many people did not understand the FG pronouncement on reopening of schools. It is only for JSS 3, SSS 3 and Primary 6 pupils and the purpose is for the students to write their final year examination after which the schools will be closed.
“Government has not even fixed date for those categories of students to return; government is waiting for those examination bodies to release their timetable before it will release the date, criteria on the siting arrangements and how the school authorities will handle the students during the period,” he stated.
Seplat, in collaboration with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had a fortnight ago began funding of $1.8 million 200 bed-room Southeast Emergency Isolation facility at the Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Orlu, Imo State.
Other medical consumables received were 25 hospital beds, 30 packs and 10 pieces of N-95 Masks, 50 packs of temperature guns, 300 bottles of sanitizers, 12×75 pieces of organic soaps, 50 packs of Nitrile hand gloves, 50 units of sanitary buckets with tap, and 25 surgical bags.
Uzodimma, who thanked the oil firm for the gestures, warned Imo residents to adhere to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on the pandemic, warning that there was law in place making it an offence for anyone not to wear face masks in the state, including prosecution and payment of fine of N20, 000 or imprisonment or both.
Speaking, Onyeagba, who commended the governor for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Julius Berger Nigeria Plc for the construction of Owerri – Orlu, and Owerri – Okigwe roads, said the donations were in their avowed commitment to the Corporate Social Responsibility geared towards containment of the disease.
The SSG to the Adamawa State Government warned that any private school that violated the order not to reopen will face the full wrath of the law, noting that it was government’s responsibility to protect its citizens.
On whether the teachers will undergo compulsory testing before they will be allow to handle the students, the SSG said that there is no such plan, pointing out that the state cannot handle corona virus pandemic outside the directives of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Owerri Municipal and Owerri West Local Government Area are the two local government areas with a high number of coronavirus cases in Imo State.
Chairman, COVID 19 Task Force in Imo State, Prof Maurice Iwu, made the revelation while briefing newsmen in Owerri at the weekend.
He also revealed that health workers are worst hit by the virus, attributing it to neglect on guidelines on safety and nonadherence to COVID 19 protocols.
I appealed to residents of the state to maintain physical distancing as well as use face masks at all times.
According to him, 247 persons have tested positive of the virus after 1, 214 persons were tested, stating that about 16 persons are at an Isolation center, 45 persons on self-isolation, and 20 discharged.
He noted that the state had lost three persons already to the pandemic, hence the need to abide by the governor’s desire that restrictions on movement from 8 pm to 6 am be maintained with inter-state travel ban still enforce.
The Chairman, Niger Delta Christian Traditional Rulers Association, HRM Eze Dr. Oliver Ohanwe has commended South East Coronavirus Intervention Network (SCIN) for its efforts towards creating massive awareness on COVID-19 especially in the rural communities of Imo State.
Ohanwe, Traditional Ruler of Ihim Autonomous Community gave the commendation when the group led by Miss Chioma Egbuagha visited and interacted with him and members of his cabinet at his palace about the dreaded virus, on Tuesday.
The prominent Imo monarch and industrialist urged the government and other concerned agencies to partner SCIN in its drive towards ensuring that all citizens are conscious of the dreaded virus.
He said that over 80 percent of the rural populace is not complying with the precautionary measures advocated by the government, stressing that the government should put in place more stringent measures towards combating the pandemic.
Ohanwe who is also the Board of Trustee (BOT) Chairman, Royal Fathers in Agriculture, Imo State chapter said, “the government at both the state and federal level are doing well in the fight against the pandemic but the efforts are centered more on the urban areas but we commend the SCIN for bringing this awareness and some of these palliatives down to the local areas.
“So far, our fears are our rural markets and other social gatherings. The people have not been observing the precautionary guidelines and this is not good at all. When this virus starts hitting our rural markets, for instance, it will be a Tsunami.”
“As you go along, we expect that government and other concerned agencies should partner with you so that the issue in our ruler markets will be addressed.
“We also want to encourage you to continue this awareness campaign to so many other communities across the South East States so that our people will be safe from this ravaging scourge.” the Chairman, Okigwe Zone Elders, and Leaders Forum added.
Speaking earlier, Mr. Collins Osuji, SCIN Media Analyst who represented the Coordinator, Nze Meekam Mgbenwu at the event, and other SCIN teams including Miss Chioma Egbuagha (Imo Team Lead), Mrs. Juliet Oguekusi (Health Analyst) and Miss Uju Odette (Data Analyst) said the visit was part of the group’s way of complementing existing efforts aimed at combating the spread of the COVID-19 in the South East region.
They also took time to intimate the community leaders on how to safeguard themselves from the virus as well as demonstrated how best to adhere to precautionary measures such as the washing of hands, wearing face masks among others.
The SCIN team also urged them to help to carry the message to all the nooks and crannies of the community and ensure that their people stay safe and free from the pandemic.
Some of the chieftains of the community present at the event who also contributed to the interaction include Chief Sir Adolphus Agim (President General), Nze Everest Ndunaka (Traditional Prime Minister), Chief Chukwuma Ohanwe (Cabinet Chairman) and Ichie Kelvin Ihekwuaba (Cabinet Secretary). Others were Sir Geoffrey Ohanwe, Ichie Marcel Okoroha, Comr. Samuel Awuzie, Chief Cabinus Ezeji, Ichie Edwin Ibezie, Sir Adolphus Ogoke, and Mr. Gift Awuzie
A member of the Imo State House of Assembly has reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) just as a woman who after safely delivering twins has died from complications from the disease.
The Chairman, Task Force on COVID-19 in the state, Professor Maurice Iwu, disclosed this during his weekly press briefing in Owerri.
The infected lawmaker, according to Iwu, is currently in isolation with his wife, while tests have been directed to be conducted on all the state lawmakers