The number of personnel at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 in Delta State has depleted following the sudden death of some taskforce members in the past few weeks.
Investigation revealed that no fewer than 20 persons, mostly ad-hoc personnel in the fight against COVID-19 died after brief illnesses.
An inside source said they may have died as a result of the ravaging global disease, adding that reports of the demise were being kept under wraps to avoid tension.
The source added that the list did not include high profile government officials in the state.
Last Sunday, Secretary to State Government, Chiedu Ebie and Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu tested positive to COVID-19.
The two top officials who hail from Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s Ika constituency, are now in isolation centre for treatment.
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okowa, Olisa Ifeajika, who confirmed the COVID-19 positive status of his fellow appointees, said the officials were responding positively to treatment.
Meanwhile, the state government has taken steps to curtail further spread of the disease among top officials by shutting down some office complexes.
The affected offices include that of the SSG, off Cabinet Road; the Ministry of Information complex along Summit Road; and the Permanent Secretary (Government House) complex with the Government House, Asaba.
The development, Daily Sun earnt, was to enable officials fumigate the offices.
Prompt testing could have prevented some fatalities – FG
The Federal Government has blamed delayed testing for COVID-19 as being responsible for some of the fatalities recorded so far.
This is even as it stated that the cases in the country has risen from 442 cases in April 16 to 5,621 in May 16 and to 17, 148 cases in June 16, stressing that the citizens have a choice to make in helping to curtail the spread and impacts of the virus.
Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said at briefing of the taskforce in Abuja, yesterday.
“As we pursue the Community engagement and Risk Communication Strategy, the PTF has identified lack of information about case definition protocols, location of testing centres, inability to reach call centres, etc as obstacles to getting needed help. The PTF has therefore directed that more awareness be created on the location of test centres and how to get tested especially when you fit the case definition. The call centres are also being re-energized for responsiveness. “Our messaging on risk communication and compliance by the public will also receive very strong attention. We must develop a national wave of awareness creation to drive home our objectives.”
The SGF recalled that, at the beginning of June, the PTF announced a one-month period for the implementation of the second phase of eased lockdown and that the taskforce have continued to monitor developments nationwide in order to take informed decisions at the end of the month.
He said the PTF has also continued to watch developments from other jurisdictions especially those that have similar climatic and demographics with the country.
Challenge those without masks
Dr. Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF), has expressed concerns that states that were hitherto adhering to the protocols of guidelines were now letting down their guards.
It has also expressed concerned about some states denying the existence of the virus, saying they were putting their citizens at risk.
This is even as it has urged Nigerians to challenge those that are in public and are not wearing these masks.
“There’s partial to total non-compliance with face mask and physical distance in protocols by the public as earlier mentioned by the DG NCDC.
“Many Nigerians only use their face mask either to avoid security agents, that is where enforcement exist or where they are told to do so.
“There’s also significant disbelief in the danger and impact of COVID-19, in parts of the southeast where we did a recent survey, 60 per cent did not believe that COVID-19 was an issue at all. We clearly are not taking the pandemic seriously enough.”