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Anxiety Mounts Over COVID-19 Spread In Kogi After Index Cases

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced two cases of coronavirus in Kogi on Wednesday.

Although those were the state’s index cases, there are fears the infection rate might already be high, TheCable reports.

One of the index cases had reported at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Lokoja, the state capital, when he started having symptoms of the disease but he was later sent to the National Hospital, Abuja, where he was diagnosed.

TheCable gathered that the man who is from Kabba Bunu local government area, is believed to have infected his close aide, who is the second case confirmed by the NCDC.

There is a high possibility that the duo came in contact with a lot of people in the state before they were transferred to Abuja on May 24.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria, Kogi has laid claim to a clean sheet until Wednesday when NCDC confirmed the two cases.

But the state government rejected the results, accusing the health agency of perpetrating fraud.

TheCable gathered that Austin Ojotule, the state epidemiologist, was immediately informed after the index cases tested positive.

A senior medical doctor at FMC told TheCable that health workers in the state are apprehensive and have been having marathon meetings since the cases were confirmed.

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“Everybody is apprehensive; the tension is higher than it was before the cases were confirmed. We are meeting again this morning… we have been meeting since then,” the doctor, who pleaded anonymity for the fear of being punished, told TheCable on Friday morning.

“The doctors that exposed themselves have also gone into self isolation. The state authorities ought to have started contact tracing but with the way they are denying, they are not ready to do anything. It seems they are not taking the lives of the people as seriously as they ought to.”

Speaking during an NTA programme on Thursday, Mohammed Kawu, acting secretary, health and human services secretariat in the federal capital territory (FCT), said with the nature of the two cases from Kogi, it is believed that the infection is spreading.

He said the state was immediately contacted “to ensure that they do contact tracing and carry out tests so that all those found positive would be removed from the communities in order not to infect other people.”

“The issue is that there is infection going on somehow and I think it is the response of the state to search the area and do a lot of testing so that whoever they find infected should be isolated and treated, otherwise it is not going to be good,” he said.

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Doctors are also worried that not much has been done on the part of government to curb the spread of the virus.

TheCable had reported how Kogi, which shares a boundary with FCT, has been turning a blind eye to patients with COVID-19 symptoms.

Despite over 500 cases in the nation’s capital, there is seamless flow of movement between the two places, with little or no measure in place to prevent transmission of the virus as many do not wear masks, maintain social distancing, or observe other safety protocols recommended by health authorities.

Both the state epidemiologist and Haruna Saka, commissioner for health, could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing this report.

They neither answered calls nor replied text messages.

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