The Kwara state government has said it will announce more stringent measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the state.
The state governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, gave the hint during a visit to the state infectious disease and treatment centre where the state isolation centre is being upgraded at the Sobi specialist hospital, Ilorin .
Kwara currently has no confirmed case, but the government has set up various preventive and safety mechanisms, including establishing and equipping an isolation centre, to tackle the virus as Nigeria records more confirmed cases in at least four states and the capital city Abuja.
AbdulRazaq told reporters late Monday that COVID-19 may be treated as a national security issue which requires the support and understanding of every citizen to stamp out.
“We will be announcing further measures this week in containing the spread of the virus. We also expect the federal government to come up with further measures. This may entail further restrictions on the movement of people in the interest of public health and security. It is a national security situation now which everybody should understand,” AbdulRazaq said, a day after he directed civil servants to work from home and called for social distancing in the state.
“We will take more measures this week to make sure our people sit at home. The civil servants will sit at home; their children will be at home. Please take care of your kids; don’t roam about. It is also the time to clean your environment and ensure that your community is clean.”
AbdulRazaq said the newly created isolation centre would be extended in the coming weeks to accommodate around 100 patients at a go while Kwara works with Abuja on the ongoing efforts to establish zonal test centres with the capacity to screen blood samples for COVID-19.
He commended the commissioner for Health Dr Raji Razaq and his team for the efforts to prepare Kwara for any outbreak, saying the state is also strengthening the capacity of its personnel to deal with the emergency.
“Work is going on to extend this centre. We are looking at extending it to accommodate about 100 patients and that should be ready in the next couple of weeks,” he told reporters shortly after inspecting the Kwara State Infectious Disease Centre at Sobi Specialist Hospital, Alagbado, Ilorin.
“At the last National Economic Council meeting in Abuja, state governors proposed that each state should have one (laboratory to test samples of patients for any outbreak of diseases). But there are challenges with the resources. So first of all, let’s look at having zonal centres before state centres. It is not just doing an ordinary blood test. Yes you can have the equipment but the reagents are not easy to come by. They are very expensive. So, we are waiting for the Federal Ministry of Health to see what they can accommodate. Right now, we send blood samples to Lagos. We are hoping that capacity will be built by the federal government so that we can first have zonal centres before we have state centres which will surely come.”