*as Gombe State records 5 index cases
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State has announced the confirmation of five index cases of Coronavirus in the state.
According to a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity), Ismaila Uba Misilli, the Governor who gave the confirmation while addressing members of the press shortly before a meeting with the state traditional council, regretted the reported cases but however called for calm saying Government will spare no resources and efforts to ensure the safety of the people of the state.
Three of the CoronaVirus patients have already been taken to the Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe while the fourth is currently being traced in Arawa quarters, a suburban area of Gombe metropolis and the fifth, an indigene of Biu Local Local Government area of Borno state has since been handed over to officials of the Borno State Ministry of Health.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya said despite efforts by his administration to curtail the possible spread of the Coronavirus into the state, it is disheartening to see the the state records five index cases of the virus in the state, saying contacts of the index cases will be traced, isolated and tested for covid-19.
He appealed to traditional and religious leaders in the State to be more decisive in enlightening their subjects on the dangers of flaunting border closure directive and other preventive measures reeled out by the authorities.
He said the spread of the covid-19 among the populace can only be tackled if people strictly comply with preventive measures outlined by the government and health experts.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya called on media organisations in the State to desist from promoting activities that could attract mass gatherings of people, saying any abuse of ethical standard of journalism on covid-19 will be reported to National Broadcasting Commission, NBC for necessary sanctions.
He said the government had set up the task force response team on covid-19 about a month ago to proactively contain the virus yet people failed to comply with the preventive measures, not minding the implications.
Governor Yahaya said now that the index cases have been recorded in Gombe state, government has no option than to enforce stringent measures to ensure all preventive measures are fully into effect.
He lamented that compromising border closure by some security operatives and community members was responsible for the index cases recorded in Gombe state as all the comfimed cases were returnees from the covid-19 ravaged areas.
“We plan to engage indigenous hunters, Vigilante as well as aid groups of religious organisations under close supervision of the traditional rulers whom we believe are familiar with all the terrains of their respective communities to ensure our borders are protected”, he added.
Governor Yahaya hinted that borders with other states will remain closed, while punitive measures will be taken against any large crowd found gathering in the state.
“If care and measures are not taken enough to protect the people, community spread will set-in and that will be the worst. You know the nature of how our people relate. You know the nature of our cultural affiliation and transactions and to that extent, it involves all of us,” he said
The Governor disclosed that security agencies were on high alert to ensure full compliance, because the previous orders given were seriously violated.
” Now that the ugly head of the Coronavirus has reared its ugly head on us and we have registered some positive cases, we need to rethink and do much better than what we did earlier on, in terms of taking proactive or punitive measures where and when necessary against those who decide to operate against instructions”.
The chairman Gombe State Taskforce on convid-19, Professor Idris Mohammed in his remarks said his committee will do everything necessary to ensure that the virus does not spread exponentially.
He commended Governor Inuwa Yahaya’s proactiveness in curbing the virus from getting into the State, saying for the committee to be able to keep the virus at bay for the past one month is a testament to the fact that the State Government has done the needful.
The Governor had presided over a consultative meeting with the state council of emirs and Chiefs and later a joint session with security council and traditional rulers to ensure inclusiveness in handling the matter.