The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State has asked the state government to quarantine all staff of Government House following the report of the first index case of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
A statement from the Director, New Media of PDP, Ambrose Nwaogwugwu, said that this is necessary to avoid the pandemic from spreading further.
Nwaogwugwu expressed worry at the situation where the story surrounding the first coronavirus case in Imo was shrouded in secrecy, adding that other states were able to identify and quarantine the index case and also inform their citizens.
Nwaogwugwu said: “With the official announcement of an index coronavirus case in Owerri yesterday by the NCDC, Imo has officially joined the list of state of the COVID-19 map, just like our authoritative source earlier hinted.
“From our sources too, this infected person, who is the index case, is said to be a close aide in Douglas House.
“We demand that the people that have been to Douglas House recently should immediately be quarantined and their contacts meticulously traced to prevent further community transmission of the virus.”
He said that with this latest development, it means that the lockdown and curfew imposed on the state by Governor Hope Uzodimma had failed to achieve its desired purpose and should be immediately reviewed.
Meanwhile, there is apprehension in Imo over the discovery of a COVID-19 patient in Imo. No less miffed are journalists in the state who have been kept in the dark about development surrounding the index case.
Efforts by our correspondent to speak with the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba and the Chief Press Secretary proved abortive.
Even the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Dr. Kingsley Achigbu, did not pick their calls after repeated calls.
A male voice, who later picked Osunkwo’s number, said she will get back to me while Achigbu sent a text that he was having a meeting.
However, the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Kyrian Duruewuru, who is also a member of Imo COVID–19 committee, told our correspondent that some samples were taken from some private hospitals and Government House about three days ago for testing.
He added: “We are yet to know the source of main source of the index case.
Following the inability of the Imo State Government to make full disclosure of the first COVID-19 index case in the state, Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state, Mr. Steve Uzoechi, has warned journalists to be wary of going into Imo Government House, Owerri, frequently.
Uzoechi said that the warning had become necessary, because of the cautious manner the state government was disclosing information on the first case of the virus in the state.
In a statement, which he personally signed, Uzoechi said: “Having noticed a pattern to the disclosure of the instant COVID-19 case in Imo state – rather very reluctant disclosure, I am constrained to urge every member of the Correspondents’ Chapel to adopt the strictest preventive measure henceforth as the index case could be anybody. It could be someone you know and someone who relates closely with someone you know.
“I particularly urge our members in the government house to be very mindful of their safety because of the level of unimpeded traffic to and fro the government house.”