By Omon-Julius Onabu
As the number of the COVID-19 cases across Nigeria continues to increase, at the weekend, two cabinet members of the Delta State Government have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, who disclosed this in a statement in Asaba yesterday, said the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Chiedu Ebie, and the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, had been confirmed to have been infected with the disease.
The two top functionaries have be on the frontline of the state government efforts to contain the COVID-19 since the index case on February 7, 2020, not only at the planning and strategy levels but also in intensified enlightenment campaign and state-wide monitoring of citizens’ compliance levels with medical protocols.
Only last week, the information commissioner disclosed that he had taken the test for the disease, while appealing to the people of the state to take the precautionary regulations more seriously and to volunteer themselves for testing if they suspected certain symptoms similar to those associated with the COVID-19.
Nonetheless, Ifeajika said the two government officials had been taken to an isolation centre after showing “mild symptoms of the virus and consequently subjected themselves to the test.”
Ebie and Aniagwu were “stable and responding well to treatment,” the statement noted, reiterating the need for citizens and residents of the state “to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols, as anyone, irrespective of status, could contract the virus.”
Ifeajika said: “Let me advise all Deltans to, as a matter of top priority, always obey the COVID-19 protocols, which have been in public domain, so as to curb further spread of the pandemic.
“The fresh cases in our hands in Delta further testify to the fact that COVID-19 is not a scam. It is real and people should take the issues of the virus and personal hygiene seriously.
“COVID-19 is not a death sentence; so, when you begin to feel unwell, reach out to government approved hospitals for appropriate tests to be carried out.
“We can save ourselves and others from this virus if we obey all the protocols of wearing face masks, regular washing of hands in running water, use of alcohol-based sanitisers and maintaining physical-distancing while congregating in any form.
“All our hospitals and isolation centres across the state are on 24 hours alert to receive any case(s) of the coronavirus or other health challenges.”
Meanwhile, a Catholic clergyman, Rev Fr Norbert Uchuno of SS Peter and Paul parish, Issele-Azagba, a suburb of Asaba, the state capital, has decried the flouting of the government guidelines against the COVID-19, saying Christians are duty-bound not to only protect lives but to also ensure that they do not endanger the lives of others.
Speaking on Sunday during a homily titled: ‘Trust and Obey’, Fr. Ochuno wondered why the people could not abide by simple instructions like wearing face mask, personal hygiene observances and social distancing when the Obi of Issele-Azagba, who is more than 80 years was seen keeping the rules strictly.
He warned that from June 22, 2020, nobody would be allowed into the SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church building without properly wearing a face mask.