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UNICAL commissions 20-bed isolation bay as school reopens

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The University of Calabar (UNICAL) has commissioned a 20-bed space Isolation Centre to address possible COVID-19 cases in the institution.

The centre, located in Malabor Republic, has a double tent made up of 10 beds each for students and staff of the university.

Speaking at the commissioning of the centre, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Florence Obi, said it became necessary for the institution to have an isolation centre when schools were directed to reopen.

At the ceremony, which was performed by the Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, Prof. Obi said the institution took a risk by opening the school.

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She said a team of COVID-19 Task Force was formed and proactive measures taken to ensure that there was no outbreak of the virus in the institution, adding: “The Senate decided we should resume and have physical contact with the students at a time many schools did not want to take any risk.

“We took proactive measures to put in place equipment, sensitisation and stand out as one of the few universities that took the risk of reopening for academic activities.”

She said out place modalities have also been created to ensure the institution has a test centre in the medical centre.

Edu, who doubles as Chairman, State COVID-19 Task Force, said Obi had done well for taking the lead in changing the dynamics of COVID-19 response in Nigeria and commended the institution for being the first institution to have an isolation centre in the country.

“You are our COVID-19 heroine in Cross River State. This will give confidence to the parents that their children are in safe hands and the students can concentrate on their studies.

“We will go round to see what gap is left and we will fill such gap. We are sure you have done 90 per cent of the work and the campus will also serve as a sample collection centre, while students who want to be tested will undergo the test for free,” she said.

She advocated decentralisation of COVID-19 response at all levels, saying with the level of sensitisation they will have little use of the place.

Chairman of the UNICAL COVID-19 Task Force, Dr. Kingsley Akaba, said they were happy for accomplishing the feat within three weeks, adding that this was the first stage and that the second stage would be to equip the tent and ensure its functionality.

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