Enugu State Government of Nigeria has expressed concern over increasing incidences of mysterious deaths across the state.
Prof. Emmanuel Ejim, the Chairman, COVID-19 Expert Medical Advisory Committee on De-escalation of the Outbreak, disclosed this on Monday, June 29, 2020 during its maiden press briefing in Enugu, the state capital.
Ejim said that the foregoing had necessitated the need for residents of the state to conduct personal risk assessment based on the possibility of being affected by COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is very much in the state in spite of the erroneous belief in some quarters that the virus is a scam, most of the deaths recorded in parts of the state are related to COVID-19.
“There is COVID-19 in Enugu State. The death rate is rising everyday and they call it malaria but it is not malaria. The outbreak is a serious concern,” he said.
He said that the death rate in the state is such that about three or four persons die daily at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Isolation Centre.
Ejim said that it had become imperative for the state government to invest in additional laboratories to increase the capacity and number of tests conducted in the state.
He said that it was also imperative to improve the health system preparedness in the private sector in order to boost the crusade against the pandemic.
He said that it was sad that the media had not done enough to project COVID-19 related incidences and fatalities in the state, adding that no fewer than 70 health workers had been affected by the virus.
“Enugu State has recorded 258 confirmed cases as at June 27, 2020 of which over 70 are health workers. The media do not seem to be telling people of what is going on in the state,” he said.
He appealed to relevant authorities to allow the media access to the isolation centres in the state to highlight the condition of patients there.
Ejim said that residents of the state would begin to appreciate the enormity of the challenge and risks posed by COVID-19 if such things were highlighted in the media.
He said that the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 prompted the state governor to seek a broader and deeper collaboration with experts on how to de-escalate the outbreak.
He said that the state government had made significant investments in strengthening its response to COVID-19 as seen in the provision of treatment and isolation facilities for case management.
“In spite of these commendable efforts, there seems to be an escalation of transmission and spread of the virus in the state, raising a lot of concern amongst key stakeholders,” Ejim said.
By Emmanuel Acha