Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has said that the state would not shut its boundaries over the COVID-19 emergency, to avoid cutting food supply from the northern part of the country to Kwara and neighbouring states.
Mr AbdulRazaq said this on Tuesday at a press briefing on the first two cases of coronavirus virus recorded in the state.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how two cases of the disease was discovered on Monday.
Related to the development, the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital suspended a senior consultant, Kazeem Salami, a professor of medicine who kept vital information from his colleagues at the hospital about the first suspected case, Muideen Obanimomo, who later died at the facility.
The two cases of COVID-19 in the state, which were earlier confirmed by the governor’s media aide, Rafiu Ajakaye, and the state Technical Committee on the disease, include the wife of Mr Obanimomo, who along with her husband just returned from the UK when he died.
The second infected person was also revealed as a UK returnee.
However, speaking at the press briefing at the Government House, Ilorin, Mr AbdulRazaq told the residents that Coronavirus is real and that the two cases earlier announced are true and urged them to keep safe by adhering to basic precautions announced by the federal government and health agencies.
On why entry points to the the state are still open, Mr Abdulrasaq said they, especially the highway to Lagos, cannot be shut down at the moment because of people transporting food through the route from the northern part of the country to to Kwara and other states.
He also explained why the markets are still operating in the state.
“As you all know that the government cannot provide food for everyone, therefore, the market may not be totally shut down as people may need to get some foodstuff for themselves,” he added.
Mr AbdulRazaq also disclosed plans of the federal government to set up testing centres across the country.
He said the only COVID-19 testing centre close to the state is in Ibadan, adding that the federal government would establish a testing centre in Kwara as part of the third phase for the national project.
The governor said 75 contacts of the infected patients had been traced and are being monitored by the Rapid Response Team of the medical advisory committee.
“Our job is cut out for us and we are definitely not dropping the ball. Contact tracing by the Rapid Response Team of the medical advisory committee has so far netted 75 persons who have had contacts with the cases and the suspected case at UITH.
“Fellow Kwarans, this is a trying moment for the whole of mankind. But we are definitely not helpless or without reasonable preparation in Kwara State. We are also blessed with committed professionals who are up to the task and willing to stand up and be counted at this time — while also taking all precautions.”
He said in a bid to “flatten the curve of transmission”, he “signed the newly prepared Kwara State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulation 2020 on Monday April 6th to provide legal backings for the local management of the global health situation.
“This is an emergency and the regulation, built around some enabling laws like the Quarantine Act of 2004, empowers us to invoke various drastic measures in the days ahead, if occasion calls for it. ”
“Highlights of the regulation include sanctions for anyone caught endangering public safety in whatever form or seeking to unfairly profit from our collective vulnerability and need for essential commodities at this time,” the governor said.
As at the time of filing this report, 238 Covid-19 cases have been recorded so far across 14 states in Nigeria.