THE outbreak of coronavirus in Delta State, which has claimed many lives the world drove fear into the rich and the poor.
Government was on its toes on how best to protect the lives of Deltans.
The state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, was however unperturbed with the challenges posed by the virus.
He brought his experience as a medical doctor to bear in his approach and tactics to curb the spread.
The state recorded its index case on April 8.
Long before the first case, Okowa had acquired 19 ventilators, monitors and other critical equipment for the management of COVID-19 cases in preparation for its outbreak.
While announcing that public gatherings, including burials, weddings, conferences and seminars, with over 20 persons in attendance should be suspended immediately, he explained that the ban was part of measures being put in place to protect the people.
The governor also directed that civil servants from Grade Level 1-12 stay at home till further notice, and also suspended the application of biometric system for daily attendance of workers to work.
He, however, stated that workers on essential services were exempted. Deltans were urged to avoid non-essential travels in and outside the state.
Okowa in one of his broadcasts said: “We must take some precautionary measures to prevent, as well as, limit infection if it occurs.
“The multi-sectoral coronavirus preparedness group led by NCDC has activated its National Emergency Operation Centre, and they are working closely with state health authorities.
“I wish to urge all Deltans to adhere strictly to the following precautionary measures. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 – 60 seconds and use alcohol-based sanitisers.
“All, who have had close contact with those who visited high incidence countries, are also advised to self-isolate.
“On our part, we have taken certain steps to mitigate the impact if and when cases are detected in our state. A multi-sectoral committee has been put in place and the state emergency operation centre is activated.
“Health staff have been selected and trained adequately, and the state government has completed an isolation centre at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba. The centre is ready for use.
“Three other centres at the now completed Central Hospital, Asaba, Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara and Central Hospital, Warri, are being prepared.
“To protect healthcare personnel and increase capacity, Personal Protective Equipment for health staff is in stock and we have continued to scout for more.
“The state government has also packaged incentives for critical health staff who will be engaged in COVID-19 treatment and management.
“In the last 48 hours, we have paid for and taken delivery of 19 ventilators and a good number of monitors for use by our medical staff. Other critical needs, including dialysis machines, dedicated to COVID-19 case management will be installed.
“I urge Deltans not to panic, but we must all commit to best behaviours by keeping to the advice of the NCDC and state officials. Please do not spread false information on social media, as it will do us no good.
“All institutions of learning – primary, secondary and tertiary are to close for a period of 30 days at the end of school hours on March 25, 2020.
“Malls, supermarkets, restaurants, banks, hotels and bars must, in addition to providing sanitizers at various entry points, ensure social distancing by allowing only a few persons at a time.
“Market leaders are to ensure that sanitizers are provided at all entry points to the markets. Failure to do this will attract sanctions.
“All night clubs/lounges and cinemas are to be closed forthwith, while all burials and social events must be low-key, not attracting crowds of more than 20 persons or be put off indefinitely.
“Security agencies will be directed to enforce this henceforth. Social distancing must be complied with.’’
Despite contracting the disease, alongside his wife and daughter, Okowa was undaunted as he continued the fight against COVID-19.
He ensured that patients were well isolated and treated while those who came in contact with victims were quarantined.
Today, the curve is being flattened, following the drastic reduction in the number of cases now recorded. In the last one month, the state has not recorded up to 20 cases.