The Imo State COVID-19 Task Force says it will partner the Imo State House of Assembly, state ministries, agencies and security outfits in its Phase 2 fight against the virus.
The Chairman of the team, Prof. Maurice Iwu, made the promise at a meeting he held with the Imo State House of Assembly members in his office in Owerri on Wednesday.
He said the team had concluded the Phase 1 of its assignment and commenced on the Phase 2, which aimed to contain the virus from spreading in communities.
Iwu described the House of Assembly as a very important arm of government, hence the need to partner them to find a lasting solution to the pandemic.
He said: “Viruses have a long-term effect and can affect people negatively with time and COVID-19 is not different.
“There are lots of viruses in the world.
“We don’t know the full manifestation of COVID-19.
“What we are doing is to solicit the help of the House to communicate the risk aspect of the virus to members of their constituencies.
“Imo Government, few days ago, inaugurated a high class emergency operation centre, which marked the beginning of the Phase 2 of the fight against COVID-19.
“This second phase is basically on how to manage the virus by preventing it from spreading.
“The aim is to increase the risk management and risk communication so that assembly members can relate the message to their constituencies.
“There is a stipulated guideline or blueprint on the pandemic, which everyone is expected to abide with.”
The chairman said three local government areas in the state were at high risk and more vulnerable than others, so it would be in the best interest of the state to hold back the virus from spreading to other local governments.
He said the team had collected samples of over 200 assembly staff and members for testing.
Iwu said the team would be meeting with other stakeholders, especially the Ministries of Health, Transport and Tourism; Police; and Army aside others to communicate the message to their people.
He disassociated the team from side talks that his members were selling COVID-19 materials to members of the public and collecting money from them as well as coercing them into observing the protocols.
He said his team had never used physical coercion, but appeals to people’s conscience to abide by the COVID-19 protocols, adding that people should not take advantage of the occasion to make money from people.
The Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Chiji Collins, commended the task force members for the great work they were doing.
Collins said the House had been on break as a result of the pandemic, adding that most of the members that tested positive were now negative because they were able to isolate themselves properly.
Collins said those that tested positive relied and adhered strictly to the instructions given to them by the task force as well as the drugs that were recommended.
He said: “The recovery in the House gave a lot of people in the state hope and showed that there is hope for Nigeria and Africa.
“The best attitude is for those that are experiencing the symptoms to allow themselves to be tested so that if they are positive, they could be treated on time.”
The speaker, on behalf of his members, promised to carry the message to their different constituencies that once they complied with the COVID-19 guidelines they would be safe.
He said the House had set up a COVID-19 Committee, chaired by the Deputy Speaker, on how best to handle the pandemic.