Fear and anixiety have gripped residents of Osun State over the 12 coronavirus confirmed cases from among returnees from Cote d’Ivoire. They arrived on Saturday.
The latest results have taken the state’s COVID-19 positive tally to 14, prompting the state government to request for Federal Government support to manage the situation.
From Wednesday’s latest figures from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the national tally of positive cases is now 174. It rose from 139 on Tuesday.
On Saturday, 127 persons travelling by road from Cote d’Ivoire to Ejigbo in Osun State , were barred from entering the country through the Ogun State border.
Following contact between Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun and Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, the passage was secured for them. But they were taken to isolation in Ejigbo, pending their test for coronavirus. Twelve of them have now tested positive while results of 56 others are being awaited.
Chief Press Secretary to the Osun State Governor, Mrs. Ismail Omipidan, said: “On Saturday, 127 persons from Ivory Coast in six buses came into the state from Ogun and were disallowed by the State Executive Council from mixing with the general public to prevent community transfer of the virus.
“Between Saturday and Tuesday, 24 samples of the returnees were sent for COVID-19 testing and three of the samples came back positive.
“Another 47 samples were sent for testing again and the result came back today (yesterday) with nine more persons testing positive.
“The results of the remaining 56 persons are being expected, but at this point, we will be needing the assistance of the Federal Government to manage those that have tested positive and others that may still test positive.”
Commissioner for Health Dr. Rafiu Isamotu, said those who had tested positive were being taken care of at the isolation and treatment centre while those that proved negative would be released in line with the directive of the NCDC.
The state government said the returnees are not all from the state. Some of them are: Anambra, Kwara, Oyo, Ekiti, Edo but their destination was Osun.
Omipidan urged the citizens not to panic as the returnees had no contact with any member of the community before they were isolated.
He stressed that no one among those isolated at the Ejigbo facility escaped from the centre. He said there was a daily roll call at the facility.
“As we speak, no one has escaped from the isolation centre in Ejigbo and I must emphasise that the facility was manned by a combined team of policemen and soldiers to ensure that no one has access to it apart from accredited personnel.
However, a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Bamidele Salam raised the alarm that some of the returnees were hosting their relatives at the Ejigbo Isolation Centre.
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Salam, who represents Ede North, Ede South, Egbedore and Ejigbo Federal constituency, advised those who had contact with the returnees to report themselves for testing.
He urged residents of Ejigbo to report such persons to the relevant government agency for immediate action.
“I received with concern reports of the positive testing to COVID-19 of some recent returnees from Cote d’ivoire to Ejigbo in our Federal constituency,” the lawmaker said in a statement.
He added: “While acknowledging the good job of the Osun State Government team on COVID-19 which resulted in the isolation and testing of the returnees, I am equally worried about reports that some of the persons in isolation played host to some relatives under the cover of the night.”
Banks and major markets were shut in the state yesterday following a total lockdown ordered by Governor Oyetola, in a bid to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
The governor, in a statewide broadcast on March 29, announced the total lockdown of the state for two weeks.
Oyetola said all land boundaries would be shut effective from midnight of March 29, while there would be intra-state restriction of movement from midnight of March 31.
The state chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) urged pastors to comply with the stay at home order as directed by the state government.
Its Chairman, Mr. Isaiah Adelowokan, said: “Pastors are honourable from heaven, and must avoid any disrespect from security agents, hence, stay at home as directed by our governor.
“To avoid troubles and to keep ourselves safe, it is very important to also tell members of our churches to obey the lockdown directive.”