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We can’t declare COVID-19 where none exists, Kogi tells NCDC

Kogi State Government on Tuesday faulted claims by the Director-General of the National Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, that states which are yet to record cases of COVID-19 are either negligent in testing and tracing or actively hiding the disease within their territories.

The state government noted that since Kogi was one of the only three states in the country yet to record any case of COVID-19, coupled with fillers that the Centre may have mentioned the state by name, it found the comments by the NCDC DG allegedly aimed to defame and shame the state incredibly distressing.

“What we expect from the National Centre for Disease Control is a commendation of our efforts to contain the outbreak of the pandemic,” a statement by the state Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, noted.

He said the state had religiously followed all the NCDC and World Health Organisation COVID-19 advisories, both for identifying cases and preventing spread.

He said, “The governor of Kogi State does not believe that increasing the burden on the overwhelmed NCDC and the other agencies cum resources labouring in the frontlines of our response to this deadly pandemic, when neither case nor cause for such has genuinely risen in the state, is helping the country in any way.

“We have also adhered strictly to the various guidelines from, and directives of, the federal government, customised to improve both efficiency and efficacy within the peculiarities of our own circumstances.

“While we are not surprised that they have worked for us so far in keeping our state COVID-19-free, we do find it disconcerting that the lead agency in the fight is possibly expressing doubt in their efficacy while simultaneously denouncing us for following her own guidelines.

“As of today, we insist that Kogi state has no confirmed case of COVID-19 or any case to the knowledge of our vigilant medical structures across the state which matches the suspected or high-risk factors for it. If the situation changes at this very moment we shall not hesitate for a second before alerting the NCDC.”

PUNCH