By Sampson Boroh
The Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, has declared a seven-day total lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Diri said the total lockdown which begins Monday midnight will see restriction of movement in and outside the state except those on essential duty.
This is even as panic gripped residents of the state on Monday following the announcement of the first Coronavirus case in the state by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The governor, while confirming the discovery of the case, said the index patient is 49-year-old female civil servant in the state.
According to him, the civil servant from Ogbia Local Government area of the State, has been moved to the isolation centre located at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital at Okolobiri area of the State.
Diri, who called for calm, ”Unfortunately, one of the five results received yesterday night for Bayelsa State was positive for COVID-19. This is the first confirmed case in Bayelsa.”
“The patient is a 49-year-old female, who presented herself at the Bayelsa State Specialist Hospital. She is a known hypertensive and diabetic, and presented with history of poor appetite, fever, headache, non-productive cough and chest pain of a week duration. She did not admit to any travel history.
“She was subsequently admitted at the Bayelsa Specialist Hospital where she was being managed for malaria and uncontrolled hypertension with queried COVID-19. Even as of this morning, she has vehemently denied any travel history and has strongly rejected the test result. She is presently stable clinically even though in a panic state.
“She has been evacuated to the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) isolation centre at Okolobiri for further management and all her contacts will be adequately followed up, including necessary environmental decontamination as the case may be.
“We should appreciate the dynamics of the times and act sensibly. This is a global pandemic and we cannot be sectional or partisan in our response. Like I said on a previous occasion, we cannot sleep or rest while we have an enemy we cannot see. Covid-19 is an enemy we must fight until it is completely defeated. It is time for responsibility sharing and not blame sharing.
“The Bayelsa Specialist hospital has since been closed down and decontamination procedures commenced. Contact tracing has also commenced and samples will be collected from all contacts, including members of staff of the Specialist Hospital that were on duty as well as all persons who visited the facility during her admission.
“All high-risk contacts samples will be collected and sent for testing while risk communication and community engagement will continue as usual.”
Governor Diri, while declaring total lockdown in the state, said only those on essential will be allowed to move during the seven days restriction order.
“As I mentioned earlier, the Bayelsa State COVID-19 task force will remain on response mode with dedicated and experienced health officers and volunteers doing their best to contain the spread of this disease in the state.Let me repeat that prevention and early detection remain our focus of containment. and as such we continue to advocate as follows:
“In addition, I am pronouncing that everybody except those on essential duties should remain at home for the next one week starting from tonight”.
He, however, also announced that the State owned Specialist Hospital where the index case was first reported to be shut down and all medical staff that came in contact with the patient would be isolated and a test would be carried on them.
He also announced that the family members of the index case would also be checked because they are on high risk of contamination, “the Covid-19 committee set up by the State would remain in a response mode. Early detection is the main mode of the Covid-19 committee.
On the arrest of eight Church Pastors in the State over the alleged violation of the lockdown order in the state last Sunday, Governor Douye Diri confirmed that out of the eight that were arrested by the security sub-committee of the COVID-19 committee, only one is still in detention for refusing to show remorse and stop violation of the Lockdown order.
Governor Douye Diri also denied the claims that some two index cases escaped from the Isolation centre in Ughelli, Delta State into Bayelsa to avoid detection, “But we treat all claims equally. There is no such incident as index case escaping into Bayelsa.”
He cautioned the people of the State to avoid spreading rumor and false claims in order to cause panic among the populace.