Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has called for the provision of more test kits across the country for quick identification of COVID-19 cases.
The governor made the call on Saturday in Asaba while inaugurating an Isolation Centre built and donated to Delta Government by NNPC/Agip Joint Venture under the auspices of the Oil and Gas Industry Covid-19 Medical Infrastructure.
He said that there was an urgent need for more test kits to be provided for state governments, noting that the desired results of containing the virus would be possible with simultaneous testing in all the states, with identified victims isolated while contact tracing would be carried out.
“We are happy with the interventions of the operators of the oil and gas sector with Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and wish that there is an interface with the Nigerian Governors Forum for the states to be given what they need to fight Covid-19.
“As a State, we have no fewer than 30 ventilators and so far, it is only one case that we have had to use ventilators.
“The earlier we are able to get test kits in all the states of the federation, the better because if you watch the trend, some states are no longer testing for the virus and by the time they resume testing, the cases must have spread.
“Early and continuous testing makes it easy to identify those affected and also ensure quick contact-tracing.
“The earlier we get enough test kits across the country, the better for the management of Covid-19,” Okowa said.
He disclosed that while the state was working hard to contain Covid-19, his administration had set up isolation centres at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba; Asaba Specialist Hospital, Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara; NYSC Orientation Camp, Issele-Uku and at the Warri Central Hospital.
The governor commended NNPC and its joint venture partners for working to establish permanent health facilities in the State and appealed to the management of the corporation not to consider moving the Nigerian Gas Company out of the state.
“We are very worried about the security implications of moving the Nigerian Gas Company from Delta; we have assured the communities that such will not happen as we do not want a situation where they will feel that we do not care about them.
“At present, we have a good relationship with the oil companies, which has given a boost to oil output; we have called on oil companies to relocate their headquarters to Delta and will not want the gas company to be moved,” he added.
Earlier, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari, had thanked Okowa for his administration’s successes in the provision of infrastructure in the state and said that the provision of the temporary isolation centre was due to the urgent medical challenges posed by Covid-19.
Kyari said, “If the communities are not healthy, the oil industry cannot thrive; so, all of us in the oil industry came together to raise funds to support the fight against Covid-19.
“We shall build a permanent and fully diagnostic centre in Delta State and we are here to support the state in the fight against Covid-19 as a state with highest number of oil infrastructure.”
Also, Managing Director of Nigeria Agip Oil Company, Mr. Lorenzo Fiorillo, in an address, said “defeating Covid-19 scourge at this critical moment calls for the sort of concerted, collective and sustainable effort through collaboration between government and the private sector.