The Anambra State, Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala said on Monday, 13th April, that 29 persons, consisting of health workers, relations and business partners of the COVID-19 index case in Anambra State have been quarantined and are waiting to be tested.
Dr Vincent Okpala who spoke to journalists in Awka gave details of how the COVID-19 response team in the state searched for the index case from 8 pm to 3 am, after National Centre for Disease Control contacted the government to reveal that a case has been registered in Anambra.
The Commissioner for Health Said, “I went with the team to places I ordinarily would not go at that time of the night, and I knocked on a lot of doors to wake people up from sleep to ask about the individual.”
“He left the hospital when he should not have left, and usually, while waiting for patient’s result, we keep them in check, but this man eloped even before the result was out, and when I called the doctor managing him, and he told me the man was not in the hospital, we had to go looking for him.”
“Presently, the index case is being treated at an isolation centre, and he is receiving the best of treatment ever. He has every facility he needs and is also provided whatever he wants.”
“Contact tracing is on vigorously, and we have 29 persons who are contacts of the index case, and they include medical personnel at the hospital where he was being previously managed, his relatives and business associates. Those traced are being closely monitored now.”
He said the hospital where the case was previously treated has been fumigated, and people should feel free to use the facility.
Meanwhile, The Anambra State Police command and members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), are currently in a disagreement, after policemen enforcing the lockdown order of the Anambra State government turned down its members who were going to the office on Sunday afternoon.
In protest, most journalists have bombarded the state police commissioner with complaints, asking for immediate review of the process, to avoid a breakdown of the relationship enjoyed by both organisation.
The state council of NUJ has also called on police officers to refrain from harassing journalists, or be ready for a showdown with the media.
A release by the state secretary of NUJ, Emma Udeagha stated that, “The attention of the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has been drawn to unlawful obstruction & detention of some Journalists & media workers in the State by security men enforcing the Lock down directives of the State Government over the Corona Virus pandemic.”
“Some of these journalists and media workers, including Correspondents of media houses and staff of the Anambra Broadcasting Service, ABS, who were going to their beats were detained for several hours today.”
“This unconscionable action resulted in the failure of some radio and television programmes meant to update the public on the pandemic. It is amazing that these media workers were detained even after properly identifying themselves. The action of these security men were clearly against the directives of the IGP of police, Muhammad Adamu for them to ensure that person’s on essential duties, duly exempted from the restriction orders, including Journalists & media workers, should be accorded due courtesies and unfettered access to and from their places of duty.”
“We take serious exception to the unprofessional, inhuman, tactless and overzealous action of the policemen on this matter. It’s generally known that Journalists, like health workers,are in the front line, getting the facts, breaking them down and reporting them in a manner that the populace can understand. They, therefore, did not deserve to be molested and dehumanized for trying to protect the right of the people to information. We note that this is not the first time that Journalists were humiliated in the line of duty in the State.”
“The Council would take appropriate action if the untoward development was not checked.”
Replying, the police have promised to make tags available for easy identification of journalists by police officers.
The spokesperson for Anambra State Police Command, SP Haruna Mohammed said, “The Commissioner of Police CP JB Abang has noted with great concern all your grievances and equally mapped out modalities to address them sooner than later.”
This, however, doesn’t seem to go down well with most journalists in the State, who have insisted that the command is not more than the President of the country who stated that the identity cards of the journalists can act as their pass.