Staff of the Akwa Ibom State Government House, Uyo, are now living in palpable fear following the growing spread of the deadly coronavirus in their offices.
Findings revealed that no fewer than 35 positive cases were recorded within just two days at the government house, further heightening concern among domestic workers, protocol, security and other officials.
The development came after 16 members of the Government House Press Corps tested positive to the virus last month, and were all relocated to the isolation centre at the Ibom Specialist Hospital for treatment.
Other journalists, who had contact with members of the press corps, were duly followed up for a period of two weeks.
Moved by the effect of the virus within the press corps, Governor Udom Emmanuel was said to have ordered a massive testing of other units within the government house.
A government house source, who spoke with newsmen in Uyu yesterday on condition of anonymity, disclosed that many of those tested turned out to be positive.
“It should shock you that within two days we recorded 17 and 18 cases respectively. Both domestic staff, protocol, security and others working in government house were, on the order of His Excellency, subjected to test, and most of them turned out positive,” the source said.
The source expressed concern that the alarming rate of infected persons within the government house, to a very great extent, showed how unsafe the entire state may be.
“These ones are close to the Governor and have the opportunity to be tested and treated; what happens to those who have no such opportunity? Our people may just begin to die massively. We need to do more testing, we need to test those that are not close to the corridors of power,” he added.
It would be recalled that a broadcaster in the state was arrested and detained for claiming that nine serving commissioners in the state were infected with Covid-19.
But apparently to fault the broadcaster’s claims, Governor Emmanuel, during a recent media chat, paraded all his commissioners before newsmen.
However, the government house source, while reacting to such experience, submitted that “members of the press corps throughout the lockdown worked closely with members of the state executive council.
“How then did most of them test positive to Covid-19 if the people they worked closely with were as clean as claimed?” he queried.
When contacted, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Udoh, did not deny that more staff of the Government House have tested positive to Covid-19.
Udoh, however, said that key persons in the State Incidence Committee and principal staff of the Government House have not tested positive.
He said, “Ekerette Udoh, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor is not positive, the Secretary to the State Government is not positive and these are the people that we meet every day.
“Dr Akpabio, the Governor’s personal physician and Dr Nathaniel Adiakpan, the Permanent Secretary Government House are not positive and as far as I am concerned, no commissioner is positive.”