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COVID-19: Okowa Lauds FG for Halting International Flights

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Delta Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has commended the Federal Government for halting international flights into the country as part of measures to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the stoppage of international flights and closure of land borders would ill stem the spread of the dreaded disease in the country.

Okowa told journalists after inspecting facilities at the Isolation Centre for the pandemic at the Central Hospital, Asaba, on Wednesday that with the preventive measures being put in place by the state government, Delta was ready to battle the disease if any case was recorded in the state.

He urged Deltans and Nigerians to adhere to precautionary instructions and maintain personal hygiene and social distancing, saying that such measures would help in averting contact and spread the Coronavirus.

According to the Governor, we have gone through the Isolation Centre and the Holding Rooms and you can see that the centre is fully ready. Other facilities to ensure that the health staff are safe have also been fully installed.

He said, “we have ventilators in place and more will be installed within the week. The important thing is ensuring the comfort of the patient but also ensuring that the health staff members are safe. We have proper changing rooms, with personal protective wears also in place.

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“We now have two centres in Asaba alone; you will recall that a week ago I inspected the purpose-built Isolation Center at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, built by the Delta State Government.

“Beyond these two centres that are ready, we are also establishing another one at the Teaching Hospital in Oghara. The Medical Director has made necessary arrangements for a secluded part of the hospital. They already have their Dialysis machines and we have also released funds for the quality of water needed for the machines.

“We are also establishing a centre in Warri. By tomorrow (Thursday), all works that need to be done to put the ward in good shape would have been completed and the necessary equipment will be deployed for the purpose of being able to attend to would-be patients if and in case we have the Coronavirus in the state.

“We are preparing; we don’t have to wait till we have a case. We thank the Federal Government for stopping international flights and closing the land borders; that is one good thing we have done, but I think we should have done that earlier than we did.

“However, we thank them for this action which will now enable us to manage those persons in the country who are already exposed to the virus and manage the transmission chain in such a manner that we are able to reduce the numbers and that’s exactly what we are trying to do here in Delta.

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“We have advised our people on the need to wash their hands properly and to also use hand sanitisers regularly, we have advised that it is not the time to congregate together or go to parties, we have also given directives banning nightclubs.’’

Okowa also stated that transporters must ensure that their vehicles were not fully loaded.

According to him, it’s not the time to carry four people at the back; maximum is two at the back and one at the front. We just have to show love toourselves and the best way you can show love is by obeying instructions by doing what we ought to do.

“We are meeting with our religious leaders on the need to find alternative ways to worship for now. Not all churches or mosques will be able to communicate with their members through the internet.

“But for those that cannot, you can call on phone and pray with your members but your members can also truly stay at home and pray, God hears prayers wherever the person is.

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“It is not compulsory you must be in church in full capacity for us to pray to God, because God hears us from wherever we make our prayers. These are some of the precautions we are taking.

“We have also banned all town unions and conferences from taking place;  all youth gatherings are banned with effect from tomorrow (Thursday).

“So, it is important that Deltans should please listen and as much as we listen and observe these, we are likely going to be able to limit the chain of transmission and that’s important.

“We don’t have any case yet but that does not mean that we are safe; just one case is enough to create a chain of transmissions that can cause panic just in a few days or weeks.

“Coronavirus is real, the rates are doubling every three to five days in some countries and we must be very cautious because the virus can catch up with anybody.

“It is good for us and our families as well as our nation if we obey instructions from the NCDC or any other relevant health authorities,” the governor stated.

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