Maurice Iwu, a former INEC chairman and professor of pharmacognosy is leading a task force team set up by the Imo state government to prevent and control the possible spread of the coronavirus in the state.
Governor Hope Uzodinma in a broadcast to the people of the state on Friday night
also ordered the immediate closure of all primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the state.
He also announced plans to establish a Specialist Hospital to treat the disease.
“As a responsible Government, we have done our home work and I can assure you that there is truly no cause for alarm. All the necessary measures have been put in place to ensure that the virus does not find a breeding space in Imo State. Be rest assured that we shall not leave any stone unturned in ensuring that our people are safe, well protected by providing the necessary tool and expertise needed for maximum protection from Corona Virus pandemic.”
Uzodimma said that arrangements have been put in place to test all passengers arriving at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri for symptoms of the virus.
“Any passenger that manifests signs of the disease will first be taken to a bay that has been set up at the Airport for further examination. If confirmed that the symptoms are manifest, the passenger will immediately be taken to the test centres and if positive, quarantined at the isolation centre.”
Uzodimma also said “an isolation centre has been set up within the State Capital to quarantine any person who tests positive to the virus. A test centre has equally been set up in Owerri to examine those with symptoms of the virus.”
As an additional preventive measure,, Governor Uzodimma advised that residents returning from Overseas must be self-isolated for 14 days and contact the RAPID RESPONSE CENTRE (RRC) arm of the Committee if need be.
Consequently, the Ministry of Health has been directed to immediately provide hand sanitizers to all government ministries and agencies. Similarly, hotels in the state are to provide hand-washing platforms and sanitizers where guests can regularly wash their hands.
To ensure effective monitoring of human traffic in and out of Imo State, bus operators are directed to maintain travel manifest as well as provide hand sanitizers on board their buses.
Governor Uzodimma on Friday inaugurated the nine-man Coronavirus Prevention and Control Committee led by Prof. Maurice Iwu. Other members of the Iwu task force in Imo are: Dr. Okeji Austin as secretary,Dr. Kingsley Achigbu, Dr. Uduji Uchenna, Dr. Duru Chukwuma, Prof. Isiah Ibe,Miss Nkem Chimeze Ijere, Dr. Chimezie Iwuala and Dr. Kyrian Duruewuru.
Uzodinma urged them to undertake rigorous public enlightenment campaign, assuring that he will spare no resources to facilitate the Committee’s assignment which is to ensure that the Coronavirus does not gain a foothold in Imo State.
“A State-of-the-art modern Ambulance has been provided for the Committee to facilitate its operations. This Ambulance is equipped with necessary medical gadgets for quick analysis and test for the virus and will be on 24 hours standby to respond to any emergency anywhere in the state.
“In addition, we are liaising with the National(Nigerian) Centre for Disease Control to ensure that we buy into the Federal Government’s Coronavirus prevention roadmap. Similarly, we are tracking global updates on the disease so as to remain ever vigilant on global efforts, control and eradication.”
Iwu, some weeks ago said a team he is leading is working on a cure for the virus.