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Government, NCDC differ on Coronavirus index case in Rivers

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P’Harcourt airport reschedules local trips
The Rivers government and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have differed on the existence of an index case in the state of the COVID-19 currently ravaging the globe.

The NCDC had yesterday on its official tweet handle disclosed that one person had tested positive for the disease in the South-South state.

But the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulius Nsirimi, in a live programme monitored in Port Harcourt, insisted that the state was yet to confirm the claim.

He asserted: “There are established protocols for the release of information concerning COVID-19. We cannot confirm information concerning the COVID-19 through the social media. The Rivers State government is working round to authenticate the information. There is no need for panic.

“As soon as the right information is got, government will talk to Rivers people.”

Nsirimi explained that Governor Nyesom Wike had been working assiduously and proactively to protect the citizens and residents from the virus.

He said all actions taken so far in terms, including closure of borders, schools and restriction of open worship, were to protect the state.

In the meantime, the Port Harcourt International Airport has rescheduled all domestic flights following a planed shutdown by the management.

Its Assistant General Manager Operations, Kunle Akinbode, dropped the hint yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He said Arik Air, Aero Contractors and Air Peace airlines stopped operations yesterday, adding that Dana Airline had done same on Wednesday.

Akinbode recalled that Governor Wike, in a broadcast on Wednesday, said he would not allow passengers on arrival into the state.

“With this development, all the airlines are already shutting down in compliance,” he added.

The official noted that the airport was a critical facility that could not very essential cargoes that might come in through it.

He went on: “For instance, it is in the news that a Japanese company has donated some medical supplies to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These supplies have already arrived the Abuja airport. So, if there are signals to deliver the supplies across states through the airports, then such essential cargoes would be allowed to land.”


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