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Coronavirus: A’Ibom Health Commissioner Interfaces With Traditional Rulers, Reassures Citizens Of Safety


The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, has reassured citizens of the state on the approaches being adopted to prevent spread of coronavirus disease.

Dr Ukpong said the state government is steadily putting measures in place to contain the disease from spreading in Akwa Ibom.

While addressing paramount rulers led by the chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs, His Eminence, Nteyin (Dr) Solomon Etuk, and council chairmen led by the ALGON chairman, Mr Frank Archibong, Dr Ukpong stated that a team of 88 volunteers have been trained and properly positioned to handle emergencies on the disease should it be reported in the state, adding that they’re on standby to fly out any suspected case for testing.

The commissioner pointed out that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was making plans to set up a laboratory in the state, which he said would serve as emergency unit for all the states in the South South, adding that the laboratory would be an addition to a few laboratories in the country which were only available in Jos, Lagos, Abuja and in Port Harcourt.


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While explaining that radio jingles in all languages in the state, handbills, drama sketches and billboards were being produced for broadcast to achieve the widest publicity, Dr Ukpong said the deadly disease which broke out on December 30, 2019 in China has so far sent nearly four thousand (4,000) Chinese to the grave, with the United States recording 26 deaths and six cases in South Africa.

“Coughing in a distance of 1.5 metres can transmit the sickness to the next person. The virus can survive on the surface for five days. It can stay in a person’s system for 14 days before manifesting.

“The most common ways to prevent it is by frequent washing of hands with soap on running water. You must not share hand towels. The alternative is using hand sanitizers which have become very costly now.

“Shaking of hands is no more being recommended, since the hands are the most possible bodily contacts. We should endeavour to maintain social distance,” he said.

He dispelled rumours that alcohol and bitter cola can heal the disease, saying it could most be prevented by frequent washing of hands with soap, and getting it dried with tissue paper, which must properly and immediately be disposed of.

In his response, His Eminence, Nteyin (Dr.) Solomon Daniel Etuk, Oku Ibom Ibibio and Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs, who spoke on behalf of the traditional rulers, thanked the Health Commissioner for responding to the call to sensitize traditional rulers and local government chairmen in the state on how to prevent the spread of the disease.

The royal father promised that traditional rulers and local government chairmen will take the message to their subjects at the grass roots in the state.

Present at the meeting were Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem – the Secretary to the State Government; Mr Udo Ekpenyong – Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; Prince Ukpong Akpabio – Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Industry; Mr Okpolupm Ikpong Etteh – Commissioner for Special Duties and Arc. Ime Okon Ekpo – Ministry of Lands and Water Resources.

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