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Cross River dismisses COVID-19 claims of Bauchi governor, insists state is virus free

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The Cross River State Government has dismissed the claim by Bauchi State Governor Bala Muhammed that 15 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases recently came from Calabar, the state capital, to his state.

Briefing some newsmen yesterday in Calabar, Commissioner for Health and Chairman of the State COVID-19 Respond Team, Dr. Beta Edu, denied such claims, insisting: “There is no coronavirus in Cross River State.”

“We want to make it very clear that the 15 said persons have nothing whatsoever to do with Cross River State. We don’t know how Bauchi came to that conclusion, because our borders have been closed for months now.”

She said the distance between Cross River and Bauchi states is far and one would have to pass through many states, which are already heavily infected, before reaching Bauchi; hence the possibility of contracting the virus through those states.

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Edu said the state government had taken proactive steps on time to checkmate COVID-19 spread since January and that soon after, the state shut its borders and made wearing of face masks mandatory and those measures explained why the state was yet to record any COVID-19 case so far.

She expressed the determination of the state government to support the government and people of Bauchi State with facemasks, shields and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to check the upsurge of COVID-19 cases, adding, however: “We understand the pressure, pains and stress our brother, the Governor of Bauchi State, is passing through.

“Cross River State stands with Bauchi State at this trying moment. It is not easy to have the highest number of confirmed cases in the whole of northeast of Nigeria, especially as it is leading the population of people that are probably not following the preventive measure reeled out by government.

“At this point, we stand with the governor and people of Bauchi State. The governor of Cross River State is offering a hand of fellowship to Bauchi and all other states battling hard to contain the coronavirus.

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“To those who wish to accept this gesture, we would support you with face masks; we will support you with face shield and PPE, which are being produced in Cross River State.”

She disclosed that Cross River State had tested 36 cases and conducted 530 screening so far since the pandemic started and they have all returned negative and the state government was still expecting support from the federal government, as it continues the fight to keep the state COVID-19 free.

Officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had visited the state last month on a fact-finding mission and promised to create test centres at University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) and the Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital (former Intensive Disease Hospital) in Calabar to enable more and massive testing, but so far, that has not been done.

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