COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND FCT RESIDENTS

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Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were once again reminded about the existence of the deadly COVID-19 virus with the recent revelation that the FCT Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr Mohammed Kawu was infected with the disease.

Dr Kawu is among the list of other prominent Nigerians who have been infected with the Corona Virus in the nation’s capital, including the likes of the late former Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari as well as the ex PPMC boss, Suleiman Achimugu – the latter two sadly lost their lives.

Dr Kawu’s case was confirmed a few days ago when he tested positive, following which he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Asokoro District Hospital where he has been treated and discharged.

According to NCDC data on Corona Virus, about 2400 FCT residents have so far been confirmed to have been infected with corona virus, out of the more than 21,000 tests that have been carried out. There have also been over 700 recoveries while a further 35 persons have succumbed to the disease.

During one of his recent media briefings, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello had also disclosed that the virus has now reached the stage of community transmission, accounting for the rising wave of new infections in the FCT. All efforts in the FCT had been geared towards preventing this situation, including the lockdown measures.

It was believed at some point that the FCT had succeeded in flattening the curve of the spread of the disease as the number of new infections remained relatively low and stable during the lockdown.

But with the relaxing of the lockdown measures, there has however been a sudden increase in the number of new infections, driving fears that the worst may not have been seen yet of COVID-19 in the FCT.

However, despite the deaths of prominent Nigerians and other residents as well as the confirmation of more than 2300 cases of the COVID-19 infections in the FCT, many residents are still unsure of what to make of the existence of the virus in the FCT.

It was against this backdrop that that the FCT Administration agreed to conduct journalists covering its activities on a tour of the COVID-19 Isolation and treatment centres in the FCT to see the situation of things.

Some of the centres toured include the elegant 5- storey complex at the Idu Train Station, the Asokoro District Hospital, the Karu General Hospital, among others.

At the Idu train station isolation and treatment centre, the official in charge, Dr Kassim Tanko Zakari disclosed that the situation is such that residents are now thronging the centre on their own for treatment.

He said this was contrary to what was obtained a few months back when patients were brought to the centre on ambulances for admission and some of them against their wishes.

According to Dr Zakari, about 360 patients have been admitted at the centre, since its commissioning on the 11th of May 2020, out of which 210 have been treated and discharged after testing negative.

There are however some 121 others still on admission and receiving treatment at the Idu treatment and isolation centre according to him.

Some of the residents on admission at the centre have also given varying accounts of how the virus had affected them, maintaining that they had all suffered prolonged feeling of being unwell which did not improve after several courses of self-medication.

Those spoken to agreed in unison that corona virus is real and are calling on FCT residents to take personal responsibilities in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Special Assistant on Media to the FCT Minister, Abubakar Sani, while also making a public address shortly after the tour, said it should be clear to all skeptics, from the foregoing, that corona virus is real in the FCT.

Sani noted that the fact that people are not being seen within the neighborhood infected by this disease does not mean it is not happening.

He however disclosed that the government is expanding its testing capacity and in order to ensure that everybody gets tested, adding that residents should expect to see health officials coming to them to test them for this disease as testing goes deep into the communities.

According to the SA Media to the FCT Minister, “My personal message for FCT residents is to please take care of yourselves; follow the laid down basic health protocols. Put on your face mask. Whether you are alone or in a gathering, it is very important because you need to protect yourself and protect your loved ones. Avoid large gatherings.”

Additionally, residents are being urged to always wash their hands with soap and running water or sanitize using the hand sanitizers as well as also maintain social distance.

Danladi Akilu, Durumi II District, Abuja