In the last few days, the rumor mill has been awash with unverified reports about the prevalence of COVID 19 in Akwa Ibom state. In view of this and in line with the determination of the government of Akwa Ibom state to continue to put in place measures to safeguard lives and properties of citizens and residents in the state, we have found it expedient to provide an update.
First, let me use this opportunity to state emphatically that, as at today, there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 disease in Akwa Ibom State. If and when there is, it will be announced through official quarters.
We have set up monitoring processes at the various entry points to the state. The uyo airport currently has the most sophisticated passengers screening facility/process in Nigeria.
Functional ambulances and rapid response teams are on standby to move suspected or confirmed cases, if any, to the Emergency Operation and Treatment Centre (EOC), in Ikot Ekpene.
We have distributed Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to all health facilities to facilitate infection prevention and control.
Other screening and infection materials have been procured and are being distributed to health facilities and other strategic locations in the State. These include Infra-red thermometers, hand sanitizers etc.
We have set up incidents management rooms in the major secondary health care facilities in the state.
Training and intensive enlightenment awareness sessions have been conducted in all nooks and crannies of the State. The Road Transport Workers union are directed to provide hand washing facilities with soap and running water as well as hand sanitizers at the entrance to all parks/garages. Commercial vehicle operators are instructed to reduce the number of passengers in their vehicles by half of the standard capacity of the vehicle. Similarly, passengers are advised to wash their hands with soap and running water and sanitize them before and after each trip.
We however call on the Nigerian Navy to heighten their patrol of our shorelines ; which are under their jurisdiction, to check the influx of foreigners into the state and reduce the chances of infected persons gaining illegal entry into the state.
We have directed the chairmen of all Local Government areas to set up emergency response task force to monitor and promptly report suspected cases.
Despite the Surveillance, prevention and infection control measures being put in place, we are monitoring the situation with respect to social gatherings and relying more on preventive measures to curtail the onslaught of the virus. Consequently, the task force has been mandated to monitor preventive measures put in place for gatherings of more than 10 persons, including churches, marriage/funeral ceremonies, and other celebrations who will be accommodate within the prescribed social distance of not less than 6ft. Non-compliance will necessitate a immediate shutdown of such facilities by government.
All schools in the state; both public and private, will close this Friday, March 27, 2020 as earlier announced.
While we will provide further update as the need arises we urge mischief makers to desist from peddling unverified news or risk facing the full weight of the law.
It is important to continue to observe SOCIAL DISTANCING, avoid shaking hand, Amb embracing, and keep at least six feet distance from anyone who is sneezing or coughing.
We must also continue to observe stringent Personal and Respiratory Hygiene including
– [ ] Regular washing of hands with soap under running water.
– [ ] Using hand sanitizers as already advised.
– [ ] Coughing/sneezing into a disposable tissue paper or the cuff of the elbow where no tissue is available and proper disposal of the used tissue.
– [ ] Wearing a mask if you cannot properly move away from any person with those symptoms and or give the person a mask to wear.
Anyone with symptoms of Fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty in breathing, generally feeling unwell (malaise), common cold (catarrh or runny nose, sneezing, cough) should self-isolate and invite the Emergency Response Team for assessment and follow-up.
Furthermore, if you notice any person with these symptoms, please report immediately.
The numbers to call are: 0818-941-1111, 0904-557-5515, 0703-521-1919. We reassure you that the identity of the caller will be held in confidentiality.
We call on all citizens and residents remain a calm and vigilant.
Dr. Dominic Ukpong
Ministry of Health
March 24, 2020