The Kaduna State government has enjoined all citizens, businesses and organisations to work together with the government to avoid the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic following its rising rate in the state.
Briefing newsmen in Kaduna on Saturday, the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Amina Mohammed Baloni lamented that the state is now recording high infection figures reminiscent of the first wave of COVID-19 spread in April, May and June 2020.
He stressed that the reduction of the infection rate following the first wave encouraged the government to approve the recommendation of the State COVID-19 Task Force for a significant reopening of the state.
She explained, “However, we are saddened to report that the conditions that compelled the 75-day lockdown of the state is now being replicated. On 26th November 2020, the state recorded 74 positive results from 531 samples. The quantum of infections since then suggests both high infection rates and the reality of that is a new wave of infections spreading across the state. As at yesterday, 11th December, the state recorded 117 positive cases from 518 samples.”
She further explained that the Ministry of Health expected some increase in infections after the reopening of schools, markets, places of worship and recreational centres, saying that the figures easily outstrips their estimates, while infections cut across age groups, this new wave especially affects those aged between 10 and 35. (55%).
The Commissioner noted, “There is now a veritable danger to lives and livelihoods with the renewed COVID-19 infections. If the spread continues at the current rate, it may challenge and overwhelm the health system despite our efforts to improve the resilience of that sector.”
She assured that the state cannot allow this to happen, while assuring that the state contained the first wave because, among other measures, most citizens observed and practised the COVID-19 prevention protocols.
The Ministry of Health, therefore appealed to the people to recommit to behaviour that protects them and their families from infection, saying that voluntary compliance with the protocols can help prevent and limit the spread of the disease.
She said the state had previously observed the wholesale abandonment of any compliance with protective measures, adding that it has cautioned against this and reminded citizens that the relaxation of lockdown measures did not mean that COVID-19 had been defeated or disappeared.
She said the rising infections is a reminder that COVID-19 remains a potent danger to lives and livelihoods, pointing out that anyone who remembers the pains and sacrifices of the lockdown period will not want that to be repeated.
The Commissioner urged all citizens to adopt the spirit of the forward campaign that encourages everyone to follow the stipulated guidelines by authorities in the healthcare sector.
As part of the consultations that preceded the easing of the Quarantine Order, she enjoined religious groups, professional and business associations, transporters, traders and other stakeholders to comply with COVID-19 protocols.
Dr. Amina Mohammed-Baloni noted that it is now time for all the stakeholders to discharge their responsibilities, comply with commitments they made and ensure that all their members conduct themselves in ways that advance COVID-19 prevention efforts.
She explained that the Ministry of Health as the lead agency for implementing COVID-19 containment measures would be availing the state task force of all the relevant data to monitor and access the rate of voluntary compliance.
She added that if the rate of spread retains or exceeds the current pace, then the state would have no option but to recommend the temporary closure of public spaces, including schools, markets, offices and places of worship.