Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, on Sunday, blamed the rising confirmed cases of COVID-19 on increased community testing and the easing of the lockdown in the state.
Ifeajika, in an interview monitored via Webex in Asaba, said the mobile laboratory testing centre in Asaba has contributed immensely to increased detection and treatment of cases of the virus in the state.
He also acknowledged that the relaxation of the lockdown in the state, to a considerable extent, may have contributed to the rising number of confirmed cases of COVID-19. The state recorded 32 new cases on Sunday.
This brings the total confirmed cases of in the state to148, comprising 109 active cases, 31 discharged and eight deaths from the pandemic.
Ifeajika said that before now, Delta and other states in the South-South had to travel to Irrua in Edo to test their samples for COVID-19.
He said that the establishment of the testing centre in the state was part of pragmatic steps taken by the governor in providing needed facilities and personnel to combat the pandemic.
“Before now the entire South-South states were going to Irrua in Edo to test samples.
“You can imagine the queue that was there then; it was so until about a month ago when we acquired one testing laboratory in Delta.
“It has given room now for testing more people.
“As at today, we have tested no fewer than 900 cases,’’ he said.
The CPS said that when other states were still grappling with what to do about the pandemic, Delta was proactive in putting necessary things, including personnel, in place.
“Twelve holding centres and six isolation as well as treatment centres, with all equipment and personnel needed are in place.
“You will recall that the Director-General of Nigeria Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) was here some time ago and commended Delta for the facilities put in place.
“Some organisations have also supported the government to put other equipment in place, especially in the setting up of two new fully-equipped isolation and treatment centres.’’
On the lockdown, he said the governor, in his wisdom, relaxed the lockdown in response to the people’s yearning to return to their businesses because of the seeming hardship the restrictions engendered.
The governor’s aide, however, said that schools, night clubs, bars, and lounges were still locked down.
He said that the closure of the state’s boundaries ordered by the governor before the Federal Government’s ban on inter-state movement was still in force.
Ifeajika said that all directive and prescribed protocols for stemming the spread of the virus must be observed.
He stressed that wearing a face mask in public places, including worship centres and markets, was compulsory in the state, adding that there are penalties for defaulters.
On insecurity and herdsmen menace, Ifeajika stated that it was a challenge in Delta, adding that although not peculiar to the state alone as other states were also experiencing the same situation.
He said that the state government has established a security outfit codenamed ‘Operation Delta Hawk’ so as to nip the challenge in the bud.
“The governor looked inwards and felt that indigenous policing will help, to complement the federal agencies in contending with the menace.
“That is the whole essence of Operation Delta Hawk.
“It is entirely indigenous and its activities will be domesticated so that people will own the security of their territories.
“It’s still in the works; a committee is in place to midwife the process so that it will come out properly,’’ Ifeajika said.