BY: VITALIS UGOH,Calabar
As the country enters the next phase of the novel Coronavirus management, Cross River state governor, Professor Ben Ayade has commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Federal Ministry of Health and the State COVID-19 Response Taskforce for the skillful management of the pandemic.
The governor expressed delight that the state has so far remained free of the virus.
The obviously elated Ayade spoke Thursday during a meeting with the state response team, announced a cash donation to the state COVID-19 Response Taskforce “for working day and night to ensure that our state remains free of this virus”
He attributed Cross River’s free- virus status in the first phase of the management of the pandemic to the proactive and safety measures his administration had put in place.
Ayade: ” As a general treatment protocol, in hospitals in Cross River state, people are so well trained and equipped with public enlightenment. This accounts for one of the reasons for the zero COVID-19 case in the state.
“We introduced the use of nose masks early. In fact, we were the first to lock our borders, we introduced face shields. We were the first in anything that were required as defensive mechanism against COVID-19. So, it became obvious and clear that we were able to contain with other airborne related diseases.So, we have no reason to suggest that there is pandemic in Cross River. Statistics also show it.”
The governor described as mischief, insinuations in certain quarters suggesting that Cross River was hiding it’s true COVID-19 status, saying the virus cannot be concealed because it is an infectious diseases that is transferred from one person to the other.
“It is a pandemic, therefore, when you say somebody has Coronavirus virus, it means it can spread to all family members, they will all come down with it. You can’t hide it.
“Mischief makers are wondering why Cross River which is surrounded by COVID-19 infested states and country is free from it but they forget that Coronavirus is not politics, it is not a political issue but a biological issue and therefore, can be contained, can be dealt it”
While calling for the establishment of COVID-19 testing centre in Cross River, Ayade praised President Buhari, the NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health for superbly managing the pandemic.
He also commended Cross Riverians for their strict adherence to preventive measures his government introduced at the outbreak of the virus in Nigeria.
“I thank Mr.President for being on top of the situation, I thank the Federal Ministry of Health for their efforts too. I am happy that the NCDC was very generous with their appreciation for our efforts and that is why I don’t also hesitate to commend them because we have never had pandemic before but here we are, you see them staying strong, responding swiftly, following international protocols and keeping to professional standard. I must special thank them and the federal ministry of health.”
Continuing, the Cross River state number one citizen urged the people not to let down their guards but to continue to observe all safety measures now that interstate movements have been lifted, saying he has now formally handed the state to the federal government as far COVID-19 management is concerned.
“I will like to commend all our citizens too. And now that our state borders are open, this is the time for us to actually be scared and be more careful, this is the time that we are in real danger. This is why we have to intensify the use of nose masks. This is time for us to increase our vigilance.
“Now, I have no control.I have officially handed over Cross River to the federal government control as far as COVID-19 is concerned because I can’t close my borders anymore, I don’t have control over the airspace. So, whatever happens going forward, I wish to say kudos to Cross River and Cross Riverians for being a state and a people that walked through this big challenge and ended up victorious.
“Cross River has done such a great battle and won. We have a 100-bed Isolation centre that is laying fallow till date, nobody is there. We have doctors on stand by but nobody is at the Isolation centre because our state has zero COVID-19 case.”
On the need for a testing centre in Cross River, the governor said: “We are calling on the NCDC and the federal Ministry of Health to set up a COVID-19 testing centre in Cross River state.
“Once we have a testing centre that has been certified by the NCDC we will be encouraged to do more testing because the rapid testing method is not acceptable and reliable.”