By – Praise Udugba
Cross River Gov. Ben Ayade has insisted that his state has no COVID-19 case, saying he has nothing to gain from hiding cases of infection if they exist.
Ayade made this disclosure while briefing journalists and members of the state COVID-19 Response Team at the Government House, Calabar on Thursday.
“If you have the virus and pretend not to have it, you will only have mass deaths in your state,” he said.
He lauded the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for insisting that only Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test can confirm a positive case of COVID-19 in spite of pressures from different quarters.
“As a state, we were the first to lockdown our boundaries. Records have it that Cross River is the only state that invested over 100 vehicles for effective manning of its boundaries and we even went beyond that by producing face masks, shields and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“So for some people to doubt the credibility of our COVID-19 free status is to imply that all the efforts of the state were not noticed.
“At this point, the state has been handed over to the Federal Government; all our boundaries are now opened, following the lifting of the ban on inter-state movement by the federal government.
“Residents of the state must know that we no longer have control over our boundaries, we have surrendered to the supremacy of the federal government and opened our boundaries,” Ayade said.
According to him, ”Cross River that is COVID-19 free will now have an avalanche of cases, I see it coming, therefore, with this message, it means our response team would be back on the road because as long as our boundaries are opened, our eyes will be open.
“So, as a resident of the state, if you think by easing lockdown, you are now safer, no, now you are more in danger, this is the time for you to commence a personal lockdown.”
Ayade, however, thanked the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC for being worthy examples, playing a professional and technical role and giving a world class response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
Dr Betta Edu, Chairman of the COVID-19 Response Team, thanked all the government appointees who came all out and helped in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edu also commended officials of the state’s Garment factory who were exceptional in the production of face masks, shields and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the governor also gave a cash donation of N30 million to the state COVID-19 Response Team in appreciation of its efforts in the fight against the virus in the state.