By Hammed Shittu
Palpable tension yesterday pervaded Ilorin, Kwara State capital as the Coronavirus pandemic disease ravaging the world may have claimed the life of a United Kingdom returnee from the state at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin(UITH).
The deceased, a Chartered Accountant, Alhaji Jimoh Muideen was said to have just returned from UK where he attended the graduation ceremony of one of his children.
It was gathered that the deceased was said to have been on self-isolation for over 13 days now after he returned from UK and thereby suspecting to be nursing COVID-19 infection.
Sources close to the hospital told our correspondent yesterday that the sickness of the deceased was said to have become critical on Wednesday and was subsequently rushed to the emergency ward of the teaching hospital.
Sources added that after several efforts by the medical team to revive him, the deceased gave up the ghost on Thursday night at the hospital.
It was further learnt that, the deceased who hails from Offa in Offa Local Government Area of the state had been buried according to the Islamic rites.
However, in a statement issued in Ilorin yesterday by the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital(UITH) signed by the union chairman, Dr. Muhammed Adeboye, “a patient on self-isolation for 13 days following his return from the UK (hence, suspected case of COVID-19) was admitted yesterday (Thursday) and died at the Medical Emergency ward today, Thursday 2nd April, 2020.
“Close contacts of the patient (doctors and nurses that attended to him and his family members) have started self-isolation while we await possible confirmation of COVID-19.
“In the spirit of proactiveness by the management of the hospital, the Medical Emergency has been shut down and the process of fumigation has been initiated.
“We strongly advise you all to ensure you are well protected with the full PPE kit while attending to any patient because all patients are potential carriers of this highly contagious virus and it is our earnest hope that our staff will always be protected from this deadly virus.”
Meanwhile, the state’s technical committee on Covid-19 yesterday denied that the state had recorded a case of coronavirus (COVID-19), adding however that all the six samples of suspected cases so far tested in the state had been negative.
In a statement issued in Ilorin signed by Media spokesman of the committee .Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye said that, “The committee states that there is no fact at this moment to support suggestions that a male patient who died on Thursday night at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital was a COVID-19 patient.
“Findings by the medical advisory subcommittee revealed that the patient and his wife arrived from the United Kingdom, reportedly came to Ilorin on 20th March, 2020, and went into self-quarantine without reaching out to the government or the technical committee.
“On the 13th day of the self-quarantine, the husband suddenly had difficulties breathing after reportedly eating dinner and was rushed to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital. Efforts to resuscitate him proved abortive and he was pronounced dead.
“The deceased, a Muslim, was promptly taken to Offa, his hometown, where he was interned on Thursday.
Owing to the travel history of the deceased, all the medics who attended to him at the UITH have gone into self-quarantine.
Similarly, family members who have had contact with the deceased and his wife have been directed to do same. For caution, samples have been taken from his wife and four others and results are expected in the coming days.
“The committee hereby repeats that there is no record that the UITH patient ever tested positive for the virus.”
The government, meanwhile, has flagged off the distribution of the first phase of palliatives from the Kwara Central Senatorial District with Asa local government area of the state as the first point of call.
Emir of Shonga and chairman of the subcommittee on palliatives Dr. Haliru Yahaya Ndanusa told reporters in Ilorin that commodities for the first phase comprise 19,400 bags of 10kg rice; 19,400 of 5kg of semovita; 1,940 packs of spaghetti; 9700 packs of salt; 4,850 packs of sugar; and 38,800 (1 litre) of vegetable oil.
He also said that garri (cassava flakes) and tomato purée donated to the government were to be distributed.
“We have the first batch of palliatives already delivered. More are being delivered while we expect more to be delivered to the subcommittee in the coming days. We are beginning the distribution from the Central and we urge people to be patient as we will be as fair as possible to everybody,” the emir said.
“The credibility of what we do depends on how calm our people are and maintain social distancing. We have made arrangements for security. We have asked the trusted locals and community based organisations to try to prevent the rush and maintain social distancing.”