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COVID-19: Controversy linger as Obiano says State Index Case tested negative

Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, says that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Index Case in the State, which has remained the only one, has tested negative to the ailment.

The State registered its index case of the virus last Friday and all the 39 persons who had contacts with him were also quarantined.

But Obiano in a special broadcast to citizens of the State on Saturday said the Index Case, after one week of treatment, has tested negative and would be discharged after one more test reconfirms that he is negative.

According to Obiano, “one week ago, I announced to you that our dear state had recorded an Index-Case of the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced the world to a standstill in the past few months. Today, I am delighted to announce that the report reaching me from the Protective Care Center indicates that our Index Case is responding very well to treatment. In fact, the first post-treatment result from the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) returned Negative for SARS-CoV 2.

“However, following the standards which have been rigorously applied by NCDC since the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria, he will go for a second round of tests before he can be conclusively declared negative. We shall continue to remember him in our prayers as he fights his way back from this illness.”

The Governor added that “as I assured in my last broadcast, our medical team has successfully tracked 39 people who had direct contact with the Index Case. Out of this number, 5 are in our Protective Care Center while the rest are quarantined at home. The people in our Protective Care Center are stable and have shown no symptoms of the virus so far. Similarly, the people in Home Quarantine are being closely monitored in strict compliance with the WHO guidelines on COVID-19 containment.

“Meanwhile, six people out of the 39 contacts have tested negative for Coronavirus. These are people who met directly with the Index Case 14 days ago. Ndi Anambra, this is something to be cheerful about. Similarly, out of 20 samples tested for the virus from Anambra State so far, only the Index Case returned Positive. The rest are negative.

Ndi Anambra, this result gives us enough elbow room to fight this monster by adhering to the principles of Social Distancing, maintaining thorough personal hygiene and obeying government directives and policies on the COVID-19 pandemic. I have no doubt that if we keep the rules, we shall be in a good position to kick COVID-19 out of our dear State.”

The Index Case has remained adamant that he has no symptoms of COVID-19 and that he is being held against his will, challenging the Minister for Health and the Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to bring out his result and show him and the whole world if he was positive.

And politics has been thrown into the arena with allegations that the Index Case is being used as guinea pig because of political differences.

According to a source, “the Index Case is a well-known person in the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that he abandoned APGA (the ruling party in the State, for PDP. The PDP members now took it upon themselves and insisted that the NCDC should bring out the result or they sue them to court because a person who is sick supposed to see his/her test result.

“The (COVID-19) Index Case result was out by Thursday night and read NEGATIVE. Other peoples they tested since one week and refused to bring out their result also tested NEGATIVE. Now the man has insisted that they must pay him and his people for insult and scandal before they leave that hospital. The man is determined to sue the Anambra State government for damages, unless he is paid compensations.”

The Index Case had said earlier last week Friday that “he has not visited Lagos State since January, contrary to the claim in some quarters that he visited Lagos where he allegedly contacted the virus, saying that “the last time I visited Lagos State was in December and I have been in Anambra State since January.”

The quarantine of the Index Case has been controversial right from his being taken to the Onitsha General Isolation Centre with Joe Nwiloh Heart Centre of St. Joseph Hospital, which discharged him “against medical advice” said it discharged a heart patient, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said otherwise.

The management of St. Joseph Hospital Adazi in a statement signed by its administrator said it was yet to see any laboratory results indicating Coronavirus. It said that the NCDC which it invited several times to take samples worked without any collaboration with the hospital.

It narrated that the case was referred to it by Regina Caeli Hospital Awka which felt it was a heart related issue and was admitted to the heart section of the hospital.

In the statement signed by the hospital administrator, Rev. Fr. Jerome N. Okafor, the hospital said that the cardiologist did not suspect COVID-19 more so when the patient hid his travel history.

The blood that mixed with the cough made it the more believable that it was a heart problem.

Adazi Nnukwu Town Development Union, where the Inde Case is from, denied that a citizen of the community has Coronavirus.

In a statement signed by the President-General Public Relations Officer, Obiora Ebunilo, the community said that St. Joseph’s Hospital Adazi-Nnukwu is a Specialist Hospital of choice in Anambra State and the second oldest hospital in Anambra State; well-equipped and prestigious hospital with envious track-records.

He noted that “patients of sorts of various ailments from different communities are usually referred to the hospital for diagnosis, treatment & quick recovery. A Coronavirus patient allegedly found his way to the hospital from Europe via Lagos to Anambra State. It is therefore mischievous, erroneous, provocative and unacceptable to link patients in the hospital as indigenes of Adazi-Nnukwu. The Adazi-Nnukwu community hereby declares that the patient that allegedly tested positive to Coronavirus at St. Joseph’s Hospital is not an indigene.”

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