The Akwa Ibom State government has explained that the nonchalant attitude of indigenes and the influx of people from neighbouring states that do not have facilities for PCR tests have caused the number of persons tested positive for Delta variant of Covid-19 to be high.
Recall that the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Akwa Ibom State as published by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC has continued to increase on a daily basis after Lagos State.
This has made the Federal government declare the state as a ‘hotspot.’
But the Coordinator of COVID-19 management, Dr Dominic Ukpong while briefing the press on Friday said people from other neighbouring States adopting Akwa Ibom names are also coming to the State to access the free test made available by the State government.
On the attitude of people to the virus, Ukpong who is the immediate past commissioner for Health said people of the State still believe that COVID-19 is not real thereby flouting the protocols recommended by NCDC, making themselves vulnerable to the virus.
His words, “Following our invitation, we have pleasantly been receiving and testing an increasingly huge number of people and whole families coming voluntarily for testing in the last two weeks. These include a large number of people from some neighbouring States where there are no facilities for PCR tests.
“You are well aware that we are the only State with two State-owned PCR laboratories which NCDC acclaimed to be about the best in the country. These PCR machines are maintained entirely by the State and people are tested free and all positive cases are also treated free at our permanent facility, the Infectious Disease Center, IDC, at Ituk Mbang.”
Dr Ukpong also said the State Government has subjected members of the State executive council, public officers and frontline public servants to the COVID-19 test, adding that it would rather test and record many cases than wait for its people to die in ignorance.
“We have also been constantly inviting people to come in for COVID-19 testing. We prefer to test and treat every positive case found rather than wait for symptoms to develop because symptoms of the new variant, the DELTA variant, are not yet quite clear.
“We, however, know that many of those infected with the variant are symptomless; cough and loss of smell and taste are not regular features; Those infected can come down more quickly and seriously with the diseases,” he said.
The Coordinator also said the third wave of the variant is more infectious than the previous variant, adding that it’s affecting young people with more severity than the previous variants.