Why identity of Abia Covid-19 patient was made public, by government
Abia state Information Commissioner Chief John Okiyi Kalu has explained that it was due to the public interest generated by the bolting away from an Isolation facility by Mr Emmanuel Ononiwu after he was tested and confirmed to be COVID-19 positive that informed the decision to publish his identity pictorially.
The Commissioner who explained this yesterday (Sunday) via a statement he sent to The Guardian added that doing so was to pictorially confirm he is in medical isolation and no longer constitutes a public health risk".
According to the Commissioner who is a member of the state Covid-19 Committee, it was also "to remove any possible doubt that this unprecedented step of publishing the pictures of Emmanuel Ononiwu taken from his place of isolation at Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centre, Amachara was taken".
Recall that the said Ononiwu was on Thursday declared wanted for reportedly bolting away from the Isolation facility. But the Commissioner on Saturday morning ( May 30th ) announced that he (Ononiwu) with his wife and other family members submitted selves for isolation and management.
Commissioner Kalu told The Guardian that Ononiwu having submitted self and his family members for management, state Governor Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has personally directed the medical management team of the inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19 to avail them of the best possible care with a view to ensuring that they, where applicable, recover fully as soon as possible.
His words " Mr Ononiwu is being well taken care of and will not suffer any further consequences for his initial lack of good judgement which possibly happened because he was scared."We strongly urge our people to end stigmatization of COVID-19 patients as that act is mostly responsible for the fear to report suspected cases and accept test results.
"COVID-19 is not a death sentence and many are recovering from it including 5 persons already discharged from our Isolation center located at Amachara and two others discharged from the Federal Medical Center (FMC) Umuahia.
"Members of our medical response team are well trained to handle issues around the disease from sample collection all the way through patients' management to full recovery. Most importantly, God is faithful to the good people of Abia State and will see us through this trying period and going forward".