Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has confirmed the index case of COVID-19 in the state, saying it is not a death sentence.
The governor in a radio and television broadcast in Asaba, warned that coronavirus pandemic was real, adding that the stay at home order was not punitive but to check the spread of the virus.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Okowa had on April 1 directed a total lockdown of the state to check the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Okowa advised journalists to verify their reports as the period was not for rumour mongering.
He said the rumour making the round that a member of the State House of Assembly had tested positive was not true.
He urged the people of the state to cooperate with government and ensure they comply with the stay at home order and to pray to God to save Nigeria and indeed the world from the pandemic.
He said government had prepared and equipped four isolation and treatment centers for COVID-19 patients in Warri, Oghara and Asaba with several holding places across the state for suspected cases.
Okowa noted that government had also established food banks through the support of well meaning individuals and organisations to provide palliatives for people during the lockdown.
He also said government would distribute face masks free to residents to curb the spread of the disease.
He said: “The lockdown order was given because it was necessary and also lawful because I have already signed into law a regulation which empowers us to take action against those who disobey the law.
“Delta State recorded its index yesterday April 7, 2020, and that case has already been moved into one of our four management centres.
“We have already started the process of contact tracing and I want to assure all residents that our health staff have received the best of training, they are in good spirit and are ready to go.
“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to all residents to pray for our health staff and to support them to succeed.”
Okowa added: “For the doubting Thomases, COVID-19 is real, it is not for the rich or for the poor, it could affect anybody.
“I want to urge us all to continue to observe the rules of social distancing, regular washing of the hands and the use of hand sanitisers.
“Those who fall sick and exhibit the symptoms of the disease which include fever, dry cough, and difficulty in breathing should call the following numbers 08031230480, 08031230481, 08031230538 and 08031230529 for direction.
“There is a process of management of the disease and it is unlawful for any private hospital or public hospital to receive, hide or keep quiet over any case that looks like COVID-19.
“It must be reported to appropriate authority.
“On the use of face mask, I want to encourage residents to use it to reduce the transmission chain.
“As a state, we are already in a process of producing face masks and when produced will be distributed to our people free.
“We have established a food bank and in the next few days we will be moving the food to support our people in the various villages, towns and wards in the state.
“We want to thank the people for their support and soon we shall be making public names of all those who made donations to the food bank concerning COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is not a death sentence.
“A lot more people survived than those who died from it, so there is need for cooperation and we must not take it for granted, we must work in unison to combat the pandemic.
“I want to urge people to shun rumour mongering.
“There has been a lot of insinuation that a member of the State House of Assembly has contracted the virus.
“That is not true but that does not mean that anybody in government cannot contract the virus, everybody must be careful, and obey the rules.
“No member of the House of Assembly has contracted COVID-19. It is important that I put the record right.”