By Gloria Eruka, TheProfileNewsPaper, Port Harcourt
Governor of Rivers state, His Excellency, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has confirmed the presence of Corona Virus in the state capital, Port Harcourt.
The Governor, who stated this during a statewide broadcast today, regretted that in spite of the stringent preventive measures his administration adopted in the state, the virus sneaked into the garden city through an Edo-born model, who travelled to Italy, France and Greece, before returning to Port Harcourt on 16th March, 2020.
Governor Wike said: “Twenty-four hours ago, I told you about the new measures we have put in place to keep our people safe from Coronavirus.
The new measures included, the closing of our land and sea borders.
I also told you that we shall review the measures we put in place and adjust as occasion demands.
It is however unfortunate that despite all the preventive measures we put in place, our State has recorded a positive case as confirmed by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The positive case is a 19-year-old female model from Edo State who resides in Port Harcourt. Her travel history reveals that she travelled to France, Italy and Greece before returning to Port Harcourt on the 16thof March, 2020.
On arrival to Port Harcourt, she was asymptomatic and commenced self isolation in her family house before her samples were collected and sent to the Reference Laboratory, Irruan in Edo State.
The patient is presently being managed at the State Treatment Centre and she is doing excellently well.
As it is in normal established practice, intensive line listing and contact tracing of all those she came in contact with has commenced in full force.
In addition, samples have been collected from high risk contacts for further evaluations while decontamination process has also commenced”
The governor however commended what he termed ‘patriotic spirit’ of the lady. He continued: “As the State Chief Security Officer, I want to sincerely thank this young lady for her patriotic spirit which aided health officials to get relevant information in this direction
May I, therefore urge you all to remain calm because there is no cause for alarm. The State Government is fully prepared to ensure that the incident is contained to avoid further spread.
While announcing the decisions of the State’s Security Council in response to the disease, the State Chief Executive said: “My Dear Good People of Rivers State, as a result of the situation we have found ourselves, the State Security Council met this afternoon and further reviewed existing measures that had been put in place.
The Council has therefore taken the following additional decisions:
All Civil Servants from Grade Levels 1 – 10 are to remain at home from Friday, March 27 until further notice.
“All markets in the State no matter how small are to remain closed with effect from Saturday, March 28, 2020.
“All Local Government Chairmen are to head Task Forces in their various Local Government Areas that will ensure that markets remain closed. Council Chairmen are empowered to confiscate the goods of defaulters.
“All Commissioners and Special Advisers are to monitor the compliance of the above directives in their various Local Government Areas.
Security Agencies have also been directed to enforce all the decisions taken by the Security Council.
“After our announcement about border closure, we have received requests from the following companies, Nigeria LNG Limited, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, International Breweries PLC, Oilserve Limited and Nigerian Gas Company to the effect that Government should relax the measures because of their activities.
Government cannot grant their requests now because the protection of human life is more important than any other thing and we shall do everything necessary to fulfill our obligation in this direction.
“However, we shall review our restrictions concerning their activities when we are fully convinced that it will be reasonable to do so.
Let me reiterate that we have taken these painful decisions because we cannot afford to lose any life in this State.
“It is very important at this stage that all citizens continue to practice hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and social distancing to keep our dear State safe.
May I still plead for your collective understanding and sacrifice so that together we can win this battle”.