Fear grips workers as COVID-19 spreads in Akwa Ibom Government House
There is palpable fear among staff of the Akwa Ibom State Government House following rising cases of coronavirus infection in their offices. Last month, 16 members of the Government House Press Corps tested positive for the virus and were all relocated to isolation centre at the Ibom Specialist Hospital for treatment.
Other journalists who had contacts with members of the press corps were monitored for two weeks. A Government House source who spoke with newsmen on condition of anonymity in Uyo yesterday said that Governor Udom Emmanuel, worried by the effect of the virus among the press corps, ordered a massive testing of personnel of other units.
“It should shock you that within two days, we recorded 17 and 18 cases. Domestic staff, protocol staff, security and others working in the Government House were on the order of the governor subjected to test, and most of them turned out to be positive,” he said.
According to the source, the alarming spread of the virus within the Government House, to a very great extent, reveals how unsafe the entire state might be.“These ones are close to the governor and have the opportunity to be tested and treated, what happens to those who have no such opportunity? Our people may just begin to die massively. We need to do more testing, we need to test those that are not close to the corridors of power”.
It could also be recalled that a broadcaster in the state was arrested and detained for alleging that nine commissioners were infected with Covid-19. Governor Emmanuel, during a media chat, paraded all the commissioners before newsmen to dismiss the broadcaster’s allegation.
The source, in reaction to the development, queried: “Members of the press corps throughout the lockdown worked closely with members of the state executive council, how then did most of them test positive to Covid-19 if the people they worked closely with were as clean as claimed?”
The Commissioner for information, Mr. Charles Udoh, when contacted, did not deny that more staff of the Government House could have tested positive for Covid-19. He, however, said that key persons in the State Incidence Committee and principal staff of the Government House had not tested positive.
“Ekerette Udoh, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, is not positive, the secretary to the state government is not positive and these are the people that we meet everyday.
“Dr. Akpabio, the governor’s personal physician and Dr. Nathaniel Adiakpan, the Permanent Secretary, Government House are not positive and as far as I am concerned, no commissioner is positive,” he said.