July 15, 2024

COVID-19: A’Ibom govt blames high prevalence rate to influx from neighbouring states

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*Dominic Ukpong

Etim Effiong

Akwa Ibom Government has attributed high number of persons tested positive to COVID-19 to the large number of people from neighbouring states where there are no facilities for PCR test.

Coordinator for COVID-19 Management and immediate past Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong disclosed this in a press briefing in Uyo on Friday.

Ukpong added that another factor responsible for the upsurge in the number of infected persons in state is the attitude of the people.

“Akwa Ibom PCR, which is considered the best laboratory in the country, it is on the invitation of the state government for neighbouring states to take advantage of the testing centre; many have done so under cover, by adopting indigenous names,” he said.

Ukpong said in their continued disbelief about the existence of COVID-19, many have consistently ignored basic Covid-19 protocols and have therefore exposed themselves to the infection.

“Following our invitation, we have been receiving and testing increasing huge number of people and whole families coming voluntarily for testing in the last two weeks.

“These include large number of people from some neighbouring states where there are no facilities for PCR tests.

“You understand we are the only state with two State-owned PCR laboratories which NCDC acclaimed to be about the best in the country.

“These PCR machines are maintained entirely by the state and People are tested free and all positive cases are also treated free at our permanent facility, the Infectious Disease Centre, (IDC), at Ituk Mbang,” he said.

Ukpong added that the state government has once again subjected members of the state executive council, other public officers and frontline public servant to COVID-19 testing.

He maintained that Akwa Ibom would rather test and record many cases that wait for its people to die in ignorance.

“We have also been constantly inviting people to come in for COVID-19 testing. We prefer to test and treat every positive case found rather than wait for symptoms to develop because symptoms of the new variant, the delta variant, are not yet quite clear.

“We however know that many of those infected with the variant are symptomless; cough and loss of smell and taste are not regular features.

“Those infected can come down more quickly and seriously with the diseases; The variant is also 50 times more infectious than previous variant and is affecting young people with more severity than the previous variants,” Ukpong said.

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