By Chukwuemeka Opara
Abakaliki – Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Friday announced the first death recorded from the COVID-19 outbreak in the state.
The governor, who did not give further information about the victim during a statewide broadcast in Abakaliki, also directed that all courts in the state be shut down for 10 days.
Umahi said that the directive involved all customary, magistrates, state and federal high courts in the state.
The governor said the decision was in line with the state’s COVID-19 and other infectious disease law and advised all judicial officers and their families to immediately undergo COVID-19 test.
“The COVID-19 committee in the state should fumigate all courts within the next 48 hours and it should be repeated after 10 days.
“The committee, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), officials and the relevant authorities of the courts should immediately have a meeting to discuss the COVID-19 protocols.
“I want the members of the judiciary to be alive to continue the good works they are doing,” he said.
He regretted that the state had entered the community infection stage of COVID-19, stressing that the disease was spiking in the state because of its massive testing.
“The pandemic is a very serious issue and the number you test in your state is the result you get.
“When states are not however testing, they will not get any spike and the danger is that the pandemic is of two folds.
“There are people who will contact the disease and will not show any symptoms yet will be spreading it to those who may show symptoms and the weaker people.
“This is our fear as some people will boast that they are positive but not showing symptoms without realising that their immune system may be strong.
“They will in turn be putting the next person with a weaker immune system at risk and it is our job to protect everybody in the state.
“I thank all the medical personnel, state COVID-19 committee and all those doing everything possible to treat positive patients and generally protect the people from the disease,” he said.
Umahi noted that the state’s two main isolation centres in Abakaliki were packed full but the government had renovated the Elinwovu general hospital in Abakaliki LGA and designated it as a COVID-19 treatment centre.
“The hospital has been fully equipped with ultra sound machine, mobile X-ray machines among other NCDC protocols’ equipment.
“We are not considering closing down churches and markets but we will be tempted to close any that does not take the matter seriously by observing relevant protocols.
“I want to assure the citizens that there is nothing to fear but continue praying fervently, observing all NCDC protocols as I and other top government officials will continue being in the frontline against the disease,” he said.