The Abia State Government has declared Aba, the state’s commercial hub, a red zone and epicentre of Coronavirus following the number of positive samples emanating from the city.
Chief Okeiyi Kalu, Abia State Information Commissioner, disclosed this on Monday while answering questions during a phone-in programme on COVID-19 update in the state.
Abia State, which recorded 15 new cases on Sunday, moved to the 16th position, with 166 confirmed infections, on the log of states with highest Coronavirus cases in Nigeria.
Out of this number, only three persons were reportedly nursed back to health and released from isolation centre, which Kalu said compounded Abia State’s case with very few spaces left for confirmed cases.
Kalu decried Aba residents’ nonchalant attitude to the pandemic, adding that they vehemently refused obeying governments’ directives on COVID-19, including wearing of face masks and observing of social/physical distancing.
He said such attitude threw the city into grave danger.
He also blamed churches and mosques for refusing to adhere to simple directives or telling adherents what was right to do.
The commissioner noted that report coming from Aba Central Mosque, on Hospital Road, was very dangerous and worrisome for everyone in the COVID-19 era.
He said the Abia Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 had directed Aba South Local Government Transition Committee Chairman to directly enforce regulations at the mosque on Friday and during other prayer sessions.
Kalu further said many health workers in Aba might have been infected with Coronavirus as a result of attending to infected people unknowingly without full protection.
He said: “At the moment, Abia is having more samples than any other state in the South East, which is good, because unless we identify where this problem is coming from, we may not be able to deal with it.
“We’ve done our mapping by local government and one thing is clear, majority of the new cases are coming from the Aba area and it’s alarming.
“It looks like all the sensitisation, all the efforts made by the media, have not worked because Aba people continued to violate the regulations with regard to face masks wearing, and social distancing.
“The churches are part of the problem.
“It looks like Aba is a red location for COVID-19 infection and all hands should be on deck now to stop the spread there.”
Kalu expressed regrets that people were busy endangering their lives and others instead of working together to stop the spread of the virus.
He said the facts emanating from the level of infection of health workers in the city were disturbing, hence the government’s unwillingness to unveil all the facts.
“The rate of infection of medical workers in Aba is very high, which means that a lot of COVID-19 patients are presenting themselves to hospitals and our medics are attending to them without full protection,” he said.