By Omon-Julius Onabu
COVID-19 index case in Delta State, Chief Austin Eruotor, has been decorated as the state’s maiden ambassador in Delta’s fight against the dreaded Coronavirus.
The state Commissioner of Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye, who unveiled the new anti-Coronavirus ambassador before newsmen at the Government House, Asaba yesterday, expressed the state government’s concern about the level of cynicism among citizens in the state regarding the global pandemic.
Eruotor, a holder of three traditional titles who hails from Ethiope East Local Area, tested positive for the disease as announced by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on February 7, 2020.
Also with the international businessman who arrived Nigeria from Canada three days earlier, said he dedicated himself to the campaign to enlighten people that the COVID-19 was real but not a death sentence as he survived it because he was taken for treatment early enough.
The index case from Asaba area of the state who is among the 31 discharged persons in the state, Mr. Jerry Azinge, also stressed that stigmatisation of victims of the disease was baseless and advised people to go for testing early to enhance their chances of get well quickly.
On the observation by the two survivors of COVID-19 in the state that there must be a cure somehow since they were treated at the state’s management centres at Oghara and Asaba, respectively; the commissioner maintained that no known cure or vaccine had yet been found or approved by the relevant global authorities for the disease.
Ononye said, “It is treatable but no known drug that kills the Coronavirus has been found or endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The drug had not killed the virus but prevents the virus from multiplying and damaging body.”
He said that there was no basis for stigmatisation of persons on account of their COVID-19, adding that the state medical team had subjected a total of 850 suspects to clinical investigation based on some 7, 708 telephone calls received.
He further disclosed that 13 health workers had been infected in the line of duty across the state.
“No one should doubt that COVID-19 is real. There are confirmed cases in 13 local government areas of the state and 66 per cent of those affected are males while 34 per cent are females, with bed occupancy rate of 48 per cent.”
The Health Commissioner also disclosed that the apparently youngest case in the state, a two-month-old baby girl, who tested positive for the disease along with her mother, was at the Specialist Hospital Asaba.
He said that the girl was among the 116 cases so far recorded in Delta but was responding well to treatment, adding that although the baby was initially on medical ventilators, she would be well and ready for discharge in no distant future.
“A two months old baby girl has been with us for about one week; she’s doing well and she is being treated by paedriatricians at the Specialist Hospital Asaba, and the mother is with her,” Ononye said.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Chiedu Ebie, who decorated the special health ambassador and presented him with a letter of credence at a brief ceremony, stressed that “COVID-19 is real” and urged the people to accept that fact and stop the carefree attitude that undermine the health and social protocols to contain the disease.
Ebie pointed out that the 7pm to 6am curfew introduced to check indiscriminate movement of people was still in force in Delta State, urging those that seem hell-bent on flouting the various directives of government to comply with the directives and precautions in their own interest as “nobody can love you more than yourself.”
While thanking individuals and cooperate organisations for various donations of money, foodstuff, vehicles as well as medical equipment and consumables, assured that special committee on COVID-19 headed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had continued to meet from time to time to fine-tune strategy for tackling the virus.
In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, warned that “those disobeying the well-intentioned regulations initiated by the Delta government in tackling the disease are actually endangering the lives of other citizens because they will go about spreading the disease”.