By Demola Akinyemi
Governor Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman of Kwara state on Tuesday said, about 75 persons who had contact with the two COVID-19 patients in the state are under contact-tracing in order to curb the spread of the infectious disease in the state.
Governor Abdulrazaq speaking at a press conference in Ilorin also expressed disgust over the incident at University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and called for the suspension of a senior Consultant in the hospital, Professor Alakija Salami, already suspended by the hospital for ethical misconduct.
He also said he has signed the newly prepared Kwara state Infectious Disease (Emergency Prevention)Regulation 2020 on Monday, April 6th,into law to enable the government legally force the residents to stay at home.
The governor said,”As part of our efforts to flatten the curve of transmission, I have signed the newly prepared Kwara State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulation 2020 on Monday April 6th to provide legal backings for the local management of the global health situation.
“This is an emergency and the regulation, built around some enabling laws like the Quarantine Act of 2004, empowers us to invoke various drastic measures in the days ahead, if occasion calls for it.”
Highlights of the regulation according to him include sanctions for anyone caught endangering public safety in whatever form or seeking to unfairly profit from our collective vulnerability and need for essential commodities at this time”.
He, therefore, urged Kwarans to” avoid crowded space, isolate themselves, and call our helplines if they have just returned from places of interest in the last three weeks.”
On the contact tracing of possible victims arising from the two identified victims of COVID-19 in the state, the governor said,” Our job is cut out for us and we are definitely not dropping the ball as contact tracing by the Rapid Response Team of the medical advisory committee has so far netted 75 persons that include 28 medical staffs of UITH who have had contacts with the cases and the suspected case at UITH”.
He also said that “The government is extending the ongoing fumigation exercise to these places of interest, including the relevant locations in Offa and Ilorin, where contamination may have occurred as a result of this infectious disease”
He stressed that “this is a trying moment for the whole of mankind. But we are definitely not helpless or without reasonable preparation in Kwara State.
“We are also blessed with committed professionals who are up to the task and willing to stand up and be counted at this time while also taking all precaution”.
Governor Abdulrazaq baring his mind on situation in University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital said, “The government is utterly disappointed at the breach of trust that played out in the UITH case and without prejudice to the internal investigation by UITH, we demand immediate suspension of Professor Alakija Kazeem Salami and every other official of UITH whose professional misconducts brought us down this path pending the outcome of the ongoing probe”.
Speaking on the two COVID-19 victims in the state, he said “Yesterday(Monday) evening, April 6, 2020, we received the official report from the NCDC of samples earlier taken to the Ibadan test centre.
“The test confirmed that Kwara State now has two cases of COVID-19. The first is the wife of a man who recently returned from UK and the second case is a diabetic patient who also had a travel history to the UK.
“He came into the country on March 18. He has since gone into self-isolation with his wife. Following reasonable suspicion, sample was taken from him and he has now been confirmed positive”.
Meanwhile, authorities of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) yesterday said they had placed no fewer than 28 medical staff that had contact with the deceased suspected COVID-19 patient on self-isolation.
Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital Prof Abdullah Yusuf stated this in Ilorin while speaking with journalists.
He also said that management had ordered the immediate suspension of one Prof Alakija Salami for alleged unethical conduct.
He said,.”The institution said it is also working with the Kwara state government Technical Committee on COVID-19 to contact-trace all that attended
“Already, all UITH staff with close contact with the deceased patient on the night of his admission, or his corpse have been ordered to proceed on self-isolation.
“Besides, the ‘A and E’ ward and the ambulance,” He said.