One the five persons who were reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 in Gombe State died on Tuesday night at an isolation center in Maiduguri, Borno State, officials said.
Gombe State had on Tuesday ‘rejected’ one of patients who were found to have tested positive to the disease while on transit from Lagos to Biu, a town in southern Borno.
Travellers heading to Biu from any part of Nigeria mostly pass through Gombe to get to their destination.
The Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) had confirmed that the traveller tested positive and that the Gombe government, “according to Borno officials”, did not register him for isolation in their facility, “rather they called on their counterparts in Borno to take him into their facility.”
While briefing journalists on Tuesday, Borno deputy governor, Umar Kadafur, who chairs the state COVID-19 committee, stated that the patient had been transferred from Biu town to the Maiduguri isolation centre.
“The citizen has been moved from Biu to an isolation center in Maiduguri and he is being monitored,” the deputy governor had said.
He added that the patient, at the time of the briefing, was being managed by a response team in Borno.
However, he said on Wednesday that he patient “had barely arrived at the Maiduguri isolation centre when he died.”
Confirming the death of the patient, during the daily briefing of the media on COVID-19 on Wednesday, the deputy governor said the NCDC’s “record of his death would not reflect on the Borno database, but in that of Gombe State.”
“On a sad note, an infected citizen has died,” he said.
The official explained that the citizen who was transferred from Biu to Maiduguri had tested positive in Gombe, after his return from Lagos.
“Although he died at an isolation center in Maiduguri, the record of his death will remain under Gombe at NCDC’s update since he was tested there.”
PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday reported how the federal government banned interstate transfer or movement of persons who test positive for coronavirus. The ban was announced by the health minister, Osagie Enahire, on Wednesday.
The Borno committee said 64 tests have so far been carried out on persons believed to have had contacts with Borno’s index case.
Of that number, the deputy governor said, “50 persons have tested negative, while nine tested positive.”
Mr Kadafur added that “five results were being awaited from the 64 tests carried out, while 11 additional samples have been collected from Pulka where the index case emanated from.”
He said the blood samples will be sent for testing.
So far, the committee said, 144 persons have been identified and tracked by the surveillance team.
Gombe imposes curfew
In a related development, the Gombe State Governor, Inuwa Yahaya, has imposed a 13 hours indefinite curfew on the state.
The governor, who stated this on Wednesday in a broadcast, said this is part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state.
The NCDC had on Monday announced the confirmation of five index cases of coronavirus in the state.
Mr Yahaya said the decision which takes effect from 6 p.m. on Thursday was taken after due consultation.
“Despite the proactive measures we took in order to prevent the importation of the virus, we are now confronted with the sad news of its emergence.
“I hereby issue an executive order imposing the following: that a dusk to dawn curfew across the entire state from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., with effect from 6 p.m. of Thursday, April 23, be imposed,” the governor said.
He also announced the suspension of all markets and businesses, congregational activities for social, cultural and religious purposes as well as intra-state transportation from one local government to another.
“Consequently, all motor parks across the state and Tsangaya (Almajiri) schools across the state are hereby closed,” he said.
The governor, who said essential services were, however, exempted from the order, added that necessary steps would be taken to ensure the safe return of all almajiris from other states back to their respective states of origin.
Mr Yahaya directed security agencies to ensure compliance with the executive order.
He said “a special compliance taskforce had been constituted to oversee enforcement of these directives with active representation from security agencies, traditional leaders and religious leaders.”
The governor restated his administration’s commitment to safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of the people.
“We are mindful of the economic consequences that these measures are going to have.
“On our part, government is putting up palliative measures to cushion the economic effects of COVID-19. In this regard, we shall set up a palliative committee under the chairmanship of His Royal Highness, the Emir of Gombe.”
The committee, he said, will oversee the distribution of relief materials to the people during the period.
Mr Yahaya also said that his government would embark on widespread fumigation of all high-risk public places.