By Martins Ifijeh
The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has stated that the Almajiris deported from Kano State last week brought 21 cases of COVID-19 to the state.
Speaking on Arise Television, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers Wednesday, he said when the state took delivery of 148 Almajiris from Kano, it kept them in a holding facility where tests were conducted on eight of them with symptoms, adding that five tested positive to the disease.
He said: “This morning, 16 more of the Almajiris tested positive to it and we have now kept them in an isolation centre where they are being managed.
“We made sure stringent measures were put in place to either slow down the spread of the virus. I was the first to be infected in Kaduna. I got infected in Abuja, and I in turn infected four other people. Since then the numbers have increased slightly, but not as much as other states. Our slow growth is due to the extra ordinary steps we are taking. Unfortunately, some of our neigbhours have not taken such steps, and now we are at great risk from what is happening in Kano, Katsina and some other states.”
El-Rufai said Kaduna was the first state in the country to institute a lockdown which lasted 30 days, adding that it has commenced another 30 days lockdown to ensure community spread of the virus was halted, as well as ensure the disease was not transported into the state.
He said: “Enforcement has been quite difficult, but we feel 50 per cent success is better than zero distancing measures. We knew from day one that our public health system is incapable of dealing with high number of cases. So this is not the time to relax the lockdown because in a state of about 10 million people, we have only tested about 200 and our infection numbers are still in the 20s. We have no justification yet to relax the lockdown.
“We know this lockdown will cost us, but we are ready to do whatever is necessary to protect the lives of our people. Our civil servants and political appointees have supported us financially to ensure poor residents are provided with food and other palliatives so they can stay at home.
“We also had N500 million we set aside, which has been used to buy food for poor residents because 60 per cent of our gross domestic products are from the informal sector and locking down the state would mean many may not have food to eat. So we ensured we shared palliatives in some parts of the state. We have also ensured our SS3 students take lessons through radio. Very soon we will extend the digital lessons to primary schools and other secondary school classes,” he said.