COVID-19 Scare Rocks NDDC as Virus Infects 9,302 People, Kills 261 in Nigeria

COVID-19 scare is currently rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), an interventionist agency that is immersed in alleged massive fraud.

This is happening as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday reported 387 new cases of COVID-19 with the total infections nationwide now 9,302 positive cases

NCDC also announced that two deaths were recorded in the country. With the development, the total number of fatalities in Nigeria is now 261 deaths in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Of the 387 new cases, Lagos has 254, Abuja 29, Jigawa 24, Edo 22, Oyo 15, Rivers 14, Kaduna 11, Borno six, Kano three, Plateau, Yobe, Gombe and Bauchi two each, and Ondo one.

According to NCDC, efforts at increasing COVID-19 testing capacity in the country have seen many states, including Kano, setting up mobile testing sites in some communities.

NCDC notes that most of the COVID-19 patients only show mild symptoms and recover thereafter, pointing out that the current national case management protocol is for all cases to be managed by a team of clinicians in an isolation centre.

The arrangement is meant to ensure optimal care; contain, and prevent further spread of the virus in the country.

Staffers of the NDDC have already been placed on a 14 -day self-isolation to enabled the troubled Commission to identify those who have contracted the rampaging coronavirus.

The Commission’s Acting Head of Human Resources, Silas Anyanwu, directed the workers on May 28 to proceed on the 14-day self-isolation.

Apparently jolted by the seeming nervous reaction at the NDDC, a civic group in Akwa Ibom State is calling for more aggressive awareness campaigns at the grassroots as part of preventive measures against the virus.

The group, Shiftlink Foundation, has kick-started its sensitisation campaign aimed at halting the spread of the pandemic in rural communities through proper hygiene and nutrition.

Its Founder, Ibe Samuel, a public health practitioner says Nigeria has since gone past the stage of index transmission, pointing out that resources should now be pooled towards educating the grassroots member of society, especially the elderly and aged people on the preventive measures.

‘’Since the elderly and the aged are the most vulnerable and susceptible group of people due to accumulated underlying ailments throughout their lives, we must carry them along significantly and provide rich information to them on how they can avoid getting infected and this can only be achieved through a grass-root centred approach”.  

“This COVID-19 pandemic is a public health issue that requires serious efforts to contend, thus, all hands must be on deck. As a public health foundation, we are worried about a possible explosion in the number of confirmed cases especially among the aged and we do not want that to happen”, he adds.

In their campaign, they are demonstrating proper handwashing techniques as recommended by the World Health Organisation and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as well as exhibiting the appropriate way of wearing the facemask.   

In the meantime, the decision by the management of NDDC to send the workers home is not unconnected with the demise of the Commission’s Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Ibanga Bassey Etang, a church elder, who died on Thursday morning at a university teaching hospital in Port Harcourt.

Though the actual cause of Etang’s death is yet to be made public, there are guarded whispers that he might have died of food poisoning or the raging coronavirus infection.

Silas Anyanwu in his directive, however, announced that all activities of the Commission including ongoing matters are shut down for the 14 days.

The directive equally directed the Director of Administration to fumigate and decontaminate the entire offices and premises in the headquarters during the period of the shutdown.

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