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COVID19: Rivers battle ready for coronavirus – Wike govt

The Rivers State Government has expressed its readiness to manage COVID-19 if it is recorded in the oil capital of the country.

The World Health Organisation, WHO, in its report released in January listed Rivers among four other states vulnerable to the novel Coronavirus.

Speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt, Director Planning, Research & Statistics, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Chinwe Atata, said following the emergence of the virus in Lagos, the Rivers State government has raised its preparedness level for COVID-19 to ALERT mode with the establishment of multi-sectoral emergency preparedness Technical Working Group specifically dedicated to reviewing the risk for COVID importation and evaluating the response pattern as events unfold in the State.

Atata said surveillance at the International Airport Omagwa has been strengthened with multiple layers of screening from inflight assessment to the use of thermal cameras for early detection of suspected cases as well as secondary screening for selected passengers.

“Following the confirmation of the first case of COVID – 19 in Lagos, Nigeria, it has become imperative to brief you on the State of preparedness and necessary preventive behavior we should adopt in the interest of Public Health Safety. COVID – 19 was first discovered in the WUHAN Province on 31st December, 2019.

“The risk of importation into the country was considered high especially as result of trade and travel traffic.

“The Rivers State Ministry of Health is working in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health (especially the Ports health services), the National Centre for Disease Control and other relevant stakeholders to ensure maximum surveillance at all international entry points in the State.

” In line with our protocol, all asymptomatic travelers from impacted areas coming into the State are placed on self-isolation for the maximum incubation period of the disease and monitored through the period at their destination within the State by assigned surveillance health officers without stigma.

“So far and for the avoidance of doubt, there is no case of COVID-19 in Rivers State.

“In addition, we have marked out an adhoc treatment center for COVID-19 in case of any eventuality. Presently, the State rapid response team is reinforcing preparedness with simulations for evacuations and triage at this center. We have in stock, sufficient quantities of commodities especially Protective personal Equipment and supportive drugs for therapeutic interventions in case of further challenges.

“All health facilities should ensure strict and appropriate IPC at all triage points. Citizens are further advised not to abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that can cause panic and lead to danger.

“The Rivers PHEOC will continue to provide updates and pursue all necessary measures to ensure public health safety. There is therefore, no cause for alarm as the State Government is taking care of the situation. For further information or enquiry, please call: 08056109538, 08031888093,08033124314.”



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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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