UPDATED: Tension in Bauchi as Governor Bala Mohammed tests positive to Coronavirus

…Govt orders 70% workforce to stay at home

… Additional 15 contacts with the governor taken to Abuja for further evaluation

There is heightened tension in Bauchi state as governor Bala Mohammed tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Tuesday.

The governor tested positive to the deadly virus following the clinical test carried out on him and his aides  by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media, Mukhtar Gidado who disclosed this in a press statement made available to newsmen in Bauchi, the state capital, Tuesday said ”of  the six initial tests carried out   one sample was confirmed positive of Covid-19  adding that the positive result happened to be that of his excellency   Sen.Bala Mohammed”

He added that ” At this point, it should be noted that the governor is in self-isolation as his doctors and officials from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control have taken full charge of his quarantine”

Gidado said further that the governor has advised anyone who earlier came in contact with him to go for an immediate test to avoid further spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.

It would be recalled that Governor Bala Mohammed had gone into self-isolation following contact with the former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar’s son , Mohammed Atiku Abubakar, who earlier tested positive to the virus.

The development has forced the state government  to order o70% of workforce to stay home at home.

Category of civil servants from levels 01 to 12  were directed to work from home.

The directive was given in a statement signed by Umar Saidu on behalf of the Head of Civil Service.

He, however, directed that those on level 12 and above are expected to continue going to the office including essential public servants such as health and security.

“In an effort to curtail the spread of the killer disease, His Excellency, Sen. Bala Mohammed, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, has directed that all nonessential public servants on grade level 01-12 to stay and work from their home with effect from Wednesday 25th March 2020, until further notice.

“While nonessential officers from grade level 13 and above including all essential public servants such as health, security, etc should continuously come to work to sustain coordination of effective service delivery”, he said.

The statement urged citizens in the state to always observe necessary precautions during their interactions through minimal contacts amongst others.

The major opposition party in the state, All Progressive Congress, APC, have also expressed concern over the development.

The state publicity secretary of the party, Yayanua Zainabari,  in a telephone interview to our correspondent said the issue is not something to be politicised stating that all those who earlier had contact with the governor should be traced.

He, therefore, wished the governor quick recovery as he called for urgent prayers from the people of Bauchi state.

Also speaking on the development, the Commissioner for Health, Dr.Aliyu Maigoro while addressing newsmen called for calm saying there is no cause for alarm.

He assured the people of Bauchi state that the governor is doing very fine adding that he is not showing any sign or symptom of the virus.

According to him, the governor is already receiving medication where he is being quarantined.

He said samples of about 15 additional contacts have been taken to Abuja for further evaluation apart from the initial 7 that were in his entourage to Lagos who tested negative.

” We have been proactive and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is coming to Bauchi state to give us all the  necessary support and as you’re aware we in the state are already playing our own part  in terms of safety measures”

”All the contacts of his excellency are also advised to go on self-isolation, we have taken samples of about 15 people, who are primary contact, to Abuja for further evaluation apart from the initial 7 that were in his entourage to Lagos. I want to assure the people of Bauchi state that there is no cause for alarm, the governor is doing very fine.”

He added that the state government has established four holding centres in various locations of the state in preparation for any eventuality.

Maigoro named Toro, Azare, Bauchi Specialists Hospitals and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi, as centres to handle any threat by the scourge.

He said that the state has also established a special centre at ATBUTH, Bauchi, for renal dialysis usually associated with the disease adding that surveillance has been strengthened in the holding rooms.

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