Panic as Delta Considers Compulsory Mass Covid-19 Test for Govt. Officials

As the number of confirmed cases of the dreaded Corona virus disease continue to rise in Delta State, there is tension particularly among public office holders including political appointees over an impending order for compulsory mass  testing for them.

The number or cases in the state exceeded 1,000 threshold on Thursday when the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) released its daily figure with Delta ranking highest ahead of Lagos State with 166 cases.

At the moment, Delta is the 6th worst hit state as a result of the pandemic, and there are fears that it will overtake Lagos and become the new epicenter should the cases continue to rise.

Already, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his wife, Edith, are receiving treatment after testing positive. One of the daughters of the state’s first couple had earlier tested positive, prompting her parents to immediately embark on self isolation.

In government circle, two key appointees at the fore front of the fight against the global pandemic, including the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Chiedu Ebie and Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu have also tested positive.

As a result of the development, other top government functionaries including career civil servants in the rank of permanent secretaries, directors and heads of parastatals and agencies are afraid of a possible order compelling them to go for COVID-19 test.

Permanent secretaries and directors who are senior career civil servants are apprehensive that their result may likely turn out positive if they are forced to go for test.

“Almost all the offices have been shutdown, workers are afraid as the key components of the government have tested positive.

“These are people who have been observing the protocol, yet they still contracted it, meaning all of us are not save,” the source said.

Following the COVID-19 positive status of key officials in government, some public offices have been shut to business, as a measure to curtail the spread.

But in a media report monitored by this medium, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okowa, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika said Government House was not shutdown.

He was quoted as saying that the “SSG, Commissioner for Information are in isolation centres, so the only person who speaks now is me and what I said today is the position of government.

“We have not shutdown government house, any government officials who go for test is for them to know their status.

“Government is moving, and governor has been speaking, he is only isolation centre, the only difference is that you don’t see him on the road but he has been treating files.

“Just yesterday he met with local government chairmen in this state, they have a virtual meeting, the same thing with COVID-19 team.

“Governor is not sick, that he tested positive does not make him sick, he is stable responding to treatment, even SSG, in his confinement, he handled few things, it is not a death sentence.

“I, myself have being on isolation for 12 days, I have not seen any symptom in my body. If it continues like this by Monday I will get back in my office.

“When somebody tested positive, people who have contact with such a person will be adviced to go on self-isolation, that is what everyone us did.

“Yes my office, SSG and information were shutdown and all of us were asked to go for them to fumigate the places.”

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