Borno State Deputy Governor, Umar Usman Kadafur has lamented that some citizens in the state doubt the existence of COVID-19 in the same manner Boko Haram was initially underrated.
Mr Kadafur, who is the chairman of the State high powered response team for the prevention and control of COVID-19 pandemic stated this, while responding to newsmen at a daily media update on the pandemic held at the government house in Maiduguri.
He was reacting to a viral social media video that surfaced on Saturday, where hundreds of sympathizers were seen attending a burial in Maiduguri without regards to the social distance protocols.
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The deputy governor regretted that despite the increasing rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Borno, a large number of people in the state do not believe the existence of the virus, noting that, it is rather unfortunate that lots of people participated in burial ceremonies and observed congregational prayers against the rules of social distancing.
“When Boko Haram started, a lot of people felt like it was not something to be taken seriously, until when it affected everybody.
“So this COVID-19 is another Boko Haram that is coming, and a lot of people don’t believe it’s real, and I keep saying it’s real and as a response team we’ll continue telling the general public and reaching out with advocacy Insha Allah we’ll see to the end of this pandemic.” Kadafur said.
Isolation centres half-full
The Borno Deputy Governor, said the state Government is establishing another isolation center in the state.
According to him, his committee is working hard to establish a new Isolation Centre, as the two existing ones at Ngarannam and that of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) in the metropolis have been filled to 50 per cent capacity.
Also lending his voice, the state Commissioner of health, Dr. Salisu Kwayabura said the Response team will have to now begin to use the “stick”.
“We have appealed to people, we have spoken to them please use face masks at least protect yourself, protect the community. But now we have gotten to a point where we need to apply the stick and we’re looking at different ways and modalities of that but it has come to a point where we have to clearly define defaulters and be able to prosecute them urgently in line with the laws of the country.
“If you see the funeral crowd at Bulumkutu even during eid celebrations you don’t have that kind of crowd walking around. It’s all there on the social media…People must take this thing seriously not until it gets out of hand.” Kwaya-Bura stated.
The Commissioner also revealed that, in the last 48 hours, 16 Medical health workers have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.