The Cross River State government has renewed its appeal for financial support from the federal government to help the state fight against the spread of coronavirus.
The state, which is yet to have any confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, has also appealed to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to come to their aid.
The Commissioner for Health in Cross River state, Betta Edu, who made the appeal on Friday at a press briefing in Calabar, said the state has shut down “over 300 legal and illegal border entries” in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus into Cross River.
Cross River shares boundary with Nigeria’s neighbour, Cameroon which has 5,436 cases of the coronavirus so far.
“Cross River is in the middle of states with COVID-19, including Cameroon.
“We have thousands of Cameroonian refugees in the state. We need more resources for advocacy, personal protection equipment, sanitisers and money to pay health surveillance officers, among others,” said Mrs Edu, a medical doctor.
Mrs Edu is also the head of the COVID-19 Task force in Cross River.
“The federal government and NCDC should not only focus on states with the virus. They should also stretch their hand to Cross River and support the prevention strategies.
“We have been manning over 300 legal and illegal borders across the state and we pay the security and local vigilantes daily.
“We also want support in the area of equipping the molecular laboratory we have here to help us test cases of COVID-19 in the state,” she said.
The commissioner said Cross River started the prevention against the spread of coronavirus in January by setting up the Emergency Operation Centre.
She said the state government has distributed over 5,230 Personal Protection Equipment, 2,000 hand sanitisers, and 1.5 million face masks to residents across the state, in addition to deploying health surveillance officers across the state to get samples that met NCDC requirements for testing.
Four hundred health workers have been trained to work in the state’s 130-bed isolation centre, she said.
The commissioner also appealed to the federal government to place orders for production of face masks from Cross River state garment factory to help in stimulating the state’s economy.