Until recently, it seems it was going to consume the whole while many thought it was the end of the world, they are gradually to term with the reality that the deadly virus has come to stay, hence, the management of cohabiting with it. The number of people contracting the virus are increasing globally, people seem to move about their normal businesses while the world and Nigeria are beginning to relax some of the lockdown directives.
The number of corona virus cases as at 3rd of July 2020 globally stands at, 10,984,784 with 524,039, Nigeria has 26,484 with 603 while Bayelsa with a population of perhaps two million persons has 234 cases with 15 deaths. In Bayelsa, people suddenly started complaining of having loss of taste, loss of smell and all that but ironically they don’t give themselves up for testing, they also refused to be quarantined. Although, a doctor at the federal medical centre Yenagoa who works at the isolation center disclosed that COVID-19 is not a death sentence.
Dr. Ebimobowei Nathan Onini, senior registrar department of internal medicine said, “Generally if 100 people contracted the virus, 80 of these 100 persons will not even show any symptom at all. Nothing will happen to them. It will just be as a normal life. They will just be living their life.
There won’t be any symptom at all. Then the remaining 20, 15 of them will now develop symptoms like malaria symptoms. Those symptoms will be mild symptoms, they will not cause any serious problem. Before you know, their body will fight the ailment. “People will just see it as malaria. Take the normal treatment.
Overtime, the body will overcome it. It is not a death sentence. It is like every other illness but as you know, it is still of public health importance. She narrated that people that are having other underline medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension and that are aged, from 50 years and above and people that are smokers, alcoholics, cancer or on chemotherapy for cancer and all those people that are having additional medical condition. She analysed that if those ones contacted the virus, the outcome is poorer compared to a normal healthy individual but most importantly, hence, the need to protect the community and everyone by following the infection prevention and control guidelines that the NCDC has spelt out.
“Those are basically what we are giving but somebody having Coronavirus does not mean that the person cannot have other disease conditions or infections. So if we also discover that a patient has other medical conditions, we also treat those conditions alongside this supportive treatment that we are giving for the COVID-19. With them, the patient will be shedding the virus and then the body will also be taking care of the virus and over time the person becomes negative of the virus. She added that, “we are facing a lot of challenges.
There is dilapidation of the health system, so we don’t have facilities. Manpower is grossly depleted and then no adequate training. Now when we are seeing these patients, we put on protective equipment, the one they call personal protective equipment. Even that one is in short supply. She continued, “in terms of remuneration, there is nothing whatsoever, no hazardallowance. Nobody has paid anybody even a dime. People only volunteered thinking that there was going to be that kind of inducement but nothing since we started work last two months. Up till now, there is nothing of such.
They keep promising that they are looking into it, they are discussing. That is what they keep saying but we have not received anything. However, it made the residents not to be seriously hit as one still goes out to buy things while markets were kept open and there was free movement.
At the border between Delta and Rivers states, the movement was porous as people came in and went out patting with some wads being slept into the hands of the task force team at the toll gate. Also the water ways were not seriously checkmate as the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodu Nathan Apoku said the job of policing the water ways was delegated to the local government chairmen most of whom stay in Yenagoa. At a stage the place was so porous that there was no more screening of any sort especially at the toll gate linking Mbiama to Igbogene as a visit to the toll gate by New Telegraph revealed that. Because of the way and manner everything was handled, there was a surge as many people are now confirmed positive of the virus despite those that have not gone for testing.
The Permanent Secretary however said that the state was at the peak of virus as he warned that the number of the virus cases will increase in the next few weeks disclosing that many people are going to get infected. Disclosing that the state was moving towards the peak of the infection, he urged Bayelsans not to be afraid, maintaining that the surveillance team was on top of the situation. “What is going to happen is that the number will continue to increase. We are moving towards the peak of the infection in Bayelsa State. The number will continue to increase until it will stabilise.
It will straighten up and deepen. By the time it deepens, then,we are out,” he said. Urging them to confine themselves to the COVID-19 protocols, he said, “Bayelsans should not be afraid. The government is ready and is doing everything possible to see that Bayelsans are very well protected. The chairman assured that the state’s screening center will be ready by the end of the month (June) adding that all the necessary measures were being put in place to make sure that the screenings will be done in the state.” The Task Force chairman disclosed that Shell brought into the state, the most modern PCR equipment.
This, he said is to get people trained, get a few cabinets and a few re–agents. Once we set it up, we now bring the NCDC. By the end of the month, we should be inviting NCDC to come and look at it and certify the place. Once that is done, we are good to go. He ordered the COVID-19 task force to strictly enforce the directive. The Balyesa State Governor Duoye Diri also restated the directive on compulsory wearing of facemask in all public places, including markets, banks, motor parks, churches and mosques. His Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as expressing deep concern over the fatality rate of 6.5% the state has recorded so far, which, according to him, is higher than the national average of 2.5%.
The governor emphasised that the spike in COVID-19 -related deaths has necessitated the deploying of stringent measures to secure the lives of its citizens from the pandemic. The governor, while highlighting the role of religious leaders in partnering with government toward creating awareness about the virus, lifted the ban on wedding ceremonies but directed that they be held only on Sundays. He also directed the unsealing of one of the churches that violated the COVID- 19 protocols but called on church leaders not to misinterpret government’s intention in the ongoing fight against the virus. He noted that while the government holds them in high esteem, theymust respect the biblical injunction advising them to respect those in authority.
The governor saluted the commitment and dedication of all frontline health personnel in the state in the battle against the pandemic and promised to provide the necessary support and encouragement. To this end, he directed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health to furnish his office with the necessary documents for the purchase of bio-safety cabinet and other critical medical equipment for the commencement of testing of COVID-19 samples in the state.
He said “Yenagoa has been declared as COVID-19 high risk area. But the state government will not fold its arms and allow our state capital to be locked down because of Coronavirus. So everybody must take responsibility and come to terms that the virus does exist.