In line with their earlier commitment to keep Imo citizens informed of the latest development and updates on Coronavirus pandemic, the Taskforce on Covid-19 Prevention and Control Committee under the Chairmanship of Professor Maurice Iwu, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, said it was raising the sample test of suspected cases from three weekly to a record 10. 

Prof. Iwu, who was glad to re-affirm that there is still no confirmed index case of Coronavirus disease in Imo, reiterated that the Committee has vowed to tow the path of utter caution and to leave no vacuum for the disease to penetrate into the state.

The Covid-19 Prevention and Control Committee (CPCC) Chairman stated that part of the preventive measures which the Committee has decided to apply henceforth is to increase the number of people to be tested weekly to 10, unlike the initial probable cases of three. This, he said stemmed from information gathered from neighbouring states, some of which are presently manifesting community infection long after it was assumed to be Coronavirus free.

Prof. Iwu appealed to patients not to feel embarrassed when relevant hospital authorities demand to run random sample tests on them as it portends no harm nor meant to stigmatize any patient, adding that the test samples may be collected not only from government hospitals or facilities, but also from private ones.

The Covid-19 Taskforce Chairman stressed on the need for Imolites to collectively decide to save their lives and that of others by strict adherence to the extant strategies already consciously laid down by the World Health Organization (WHO) through efficient maintenance of high hygiene standards in order to halt the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic.

Part of the Chairman’s speech reads; “regardless of what the Ministry of Information does, regardless of what the Security Agencies do, regardless of what the Government does, if we, the people of Imo State do not collectively agree to save ourselves, nobody can save us.”

Prof. Iwu, however, warned that Imo people should not take the ‘deliberate loose lockdown’ from the government for granted as opportunity to loiter or give room for possible contact and spread of the disease rather, government in her magnanimity is providing avenues for people to move around within their immediate communities to find food and other basic necessities since the already distributed palliative measures could not go round.

Prof. Iwu further enjoined the Media to partner with the Committee in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic by making information within their reach available to the Committee. He said: “If by chance you hear a rumour, it doesn’t have to be factual, send that rumour to us, but if you broadcast the rumour, then you’re helping spread the virus and you’re causing panic as rumour mongering is a major asset to the virus.”

The release added that earlier, the Secretary to the Taskforce Committee, Dr. Austin Okeji admitted initial low level of awareness but promptly added that surveillance network and enlightenment have been activated, including evaluating manpower to stem the pandemic from spreading from our closest neighbouring states which were hitherto Coronavirus free but presently having tens of their citizens tasting positive and even recording deaths.

Also contributing, Mr. Vitus Ekeocha of the National Orientation Agency Imo State Chapter harped on the need for community transmission of the activities of the Taskforce, adding that efforts are in place to acquaint the rural communities with the proactive measures being applied in the cities to check the disease.