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Shutdown begins in Abia as Ebonyi virology centre commences tests

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‘Imo has treatment facilities, not isolation hubs’
The two weeks shutdown imposed by Abia State Government as a result of the coronavirus pandemic commenced yesterday with an appreciable level of compliance by residents of the state.

Only essential services critical to daily livelihoods were allowed, while non- essential movements were restricted.

Commercial vehicles conveying food items into the state were welcome, while food sellers sold from their home fronts if they provided water and soap for hand washing and also wore facemasks.

Bank services were available, but banks officials were compelled to provide water and soap for hand washing, while customers were made to queue, observe the 1.5m social distancing and wear facemasks.

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The Guardian sighted task force teams enforcing the directive, while ambulances were stationed to do the needful like the state Tele Health Response equipped to receive telephone calls from those in need of medical attention and attend to them using its link to the 722 primary health centres in the state’s 17 council areas.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in a statewide broadcast yesterday, noted that although the coronavirus has not spread to the state, government was prepared to protect the people.

Also, Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, yesterday disclosed that the state’s Virology Centre has commenced testing for the coronavirus pandemic, saying eight suspected cases were examined at a lab, which all tested negative and would be discharged accordingly.

Governor Umahi stated this during a broadcast on government’s programme to curtail the spread of coronavirus, adding that holding and observation centres have been established in six locations across the state.

He explained that the Centre was built for Lassa fever and upgraded to a COVID-19 testing centre with Federal Government’s support through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

He noted that the facility was the seventh Coronavirus Testing Centre in the country and that it would serve the South East and South-South regions.

“With the assistance of the Federal Government, reagents have been configured to fit into the screening machines owned by the state government. With the three treatment and isolation centres and check points at various borders, the state is ready to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he stated.

Besides, the Imo State Government has said it has no isolation centres for suspected carriers of the dreaded coronavirus.

It explained that the suspected victims of the virus were on quarantine, while results of the tests conducted on them would be released on Thursday, April 2, 2020 (today).

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A member of the Imo State COVID -19 prevention Taskforce, Dr. Dunga Kingsley, made the disclosure while speaking on a Peoples Voic, programme in an Owerri-based private radio station, Darling FM.

Kingsley, who is also state Chairman of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists, said, “What we have in Imo State is treatment centres and not isolation centres.

“We are not playing politics with coronavirus disease by showcasing places like that. Because of the hue and cry, I am sure the state government is doing something, at least one in every location.”

However, the Imo State House of Assembly led by its Speaker, Chiji Collins has moved a motion urging Governor Hope Uzodinma to appoint chairmen of Interim Management Committee (IMC) for the 27 council areas of the state.

Representative of Aboh Mbaise, Eddy Obinna, moved the motion, saying the appointments would assist to fight the coronavirus disease ravaging the world.

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