Anambra citizens panic as state records index COVID-19 case

Anambra State has recorded its first case of the dreaded coronavirus disease in the state.
The news had come yesterday, in an update by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), generating fears and anxiety among citizens of the state.

The Anambra incident brought the latest statistics on confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria to 305.

The index case was however confirmed Saturday morning by the State Governor, Willie Obiano in a statewide broadcast.

The governor in the broadcast, said the index case who came in from Lagos, has been placed in one of the protective care centres in the state.

“I regret to announce that despite our proactive measures to insulate our dear state from this pandemic, we recorded the first case of Coronavirus in the state yesterday. At the same time, we have commenced aggressive Contact Tracing to ensure that everyone he came in contact with is brought into the net for professional handling that will save lives,” the governor said.

He urged citizens of the state not to panic as the state was adequately prepared to handle the situation.

According to him, “It did not take us by surprise. We are adequately prepared to handle the situation. We have trained enough manpower on how to handle COVID-19 cases and our Protective Care Centers are among the best in the country at the moment. On the strength of this, I urge you to stand strong in prayer and faith. We shall flatten the curve on this case to prevent further spread of the virus.”

Obiano said following the index case, it has become extremely necessary for the state to tighten the measures it had taken earlier on the pandemic, announcing a comprehensive lockdown in the state.

He further said the restriction of movement is also extended by two weeks, during which government will not tolerate any movement across the state by individuals and groups.

“Only people on essential services are permitted to move around in the delivery of those services to the people. Ndi Anambra are advised to stay indoors to avoid getting contaminated by this virus. The security agencies will enforce the restriction on movement this time and they have my authorization to make arrests where necessary to keep our dear state safe.

“All boundaries with neighbouring states remain closed. There will be no vehicular or human traffic across all the boundaries of Anambra State. Only vehicles delivering essential services are permitted after a comprehensive check and authorization by security operatives at the boundaries.

”Everyone is expected to stay indoors with their families and loved ones. However, anyone who wishes to step out for any reason at all must wear a face mask. Anyone who violates this directive stands a chance of arrest and prosecution. Ndi Anambra are advised to contact the Anambra State Public Health Emergency Operation Center immediately (PHEOC) once they feel unwell. The PHEOC numbers are ‪08030953771, ‪08145434416, ‪08117567363, ‪08058967320,” Obiano said.

Meanwhile, citizens of the state have expressed worry over the state’s readiness to tackle the pandemic.

Some persons who spoke to our correspondent Nnaemeka Obi and Benjamin Muoka while commending the State Government for promptly addressing citizens on the matter, however, said the government and members of the state COVID-19 team need to show a proper sense of direction in the fight against the scourge.

“The broadcast is timely. This is unAfrican and must be commended. However, more needs to be done in terms of the palliatives. The Governor also needs to cut down on his security vote, the allowances of the numerous political office holders and the overall cost of governance which is relatively high, and redirect the funds to the fight against COVID-19 and the palliatives thereof,” they advised.

They also harped on the need for the security agents to be civil in handling citizens during the lockdown, expressing the fear that the governor’s strong words may be misinterpreted by the agents and used to unleash violence against citizens.

For Professor Ogugua Ikpeze, the government should publish the name of the index case as it will help to trace all the contacts and ensure that all who came in contact with the case will know and take the necessary measures.

“There is the news that the case went to Onitsha, Awka and Adazi-Nnukwu. Definitely, he has mingled with many persons. Only God can save us from this problem that we have found ourselves in,” she said.

The State Chairman of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Ugochukwu Okeke called for increased awareness creation and sensitization of the citizens to ensure that they stay safe.

According to him, “This is because the way people are viewing it shows that we might face the issues of stigmatization against the survivors. I am viewing it from the point of view that we have now up to 305 cases in Nigeria and about only seven died while about 58 discharged. So it should be better we encourage people to know that while observing all the directives to checkmate the spread of the virus, that they should also know that contacting it is not yet a death sentence.”

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