CROSS River State government has turned 35 Americans oil workers who were to commence work on one of its platforms back amid fears that they may bring along the dreaded coronavirus with them.
At the moment, the US has the highest number of people affected by the global pandemic with 189,661 people afflicted by the virus and 4,097 deaths. To prevent the oil workers spreading the virus to Cross River State, the government denied the American who arrived on an Air Peace flight, entry on Monday.
Christian Ita, Governor Ben Ayade’s spokesman, said that the workers were working for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation. However, as they were not tested and cleared of the virus, the state government asked them to return to Abuja.
Mr Ita said: “We insisted that they should go back and be properly tested before they could come in. We have blocked our boundaries, so, if they must come in because the federal government wants them to come in and do one or two things, they have to be sure that they are free of infections because prevention, they say, is better than cure.
“They didn’t get to Cross River. They were en route to Cross River but they were not allowed to land. They went back to Abuja. They were never in Cross River.”
Meanwhile, Professor Ogbu Ngim, the chairman of the medical advisory committee at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, has refuted reports that a coronavirus patient was admitted in the hospital. He revealed that a sick white tourist brought to the hospital recently died but this had nothing to do with the pandemic.
Professor Ngim said: “This morning, we were made to understand that a patient was brought into our casualty department who had some upper respiratory tract infections and was coughing. The patient was not sneezing and she didn’t have a fever.
“She didn’t have any of the symptoms that will say this is Covid-19 but as you know, everybody at this period, even if you have malaria, will think it is coronavirus, which is not correct. However, we observed what we call universal precaution and she was taken to the isolation centre.
“We have followed the universal precaution and it is important to note that before you label a case as being Covid-19, there are protocols to follow. Those protocols are yet to be exhausted, we do not have a positive confirmatory test and as we speak, samples have been taken.”
Professor Ngim, who said the particular case was unlikely to be Covid-19, maintained that the viral disease had not gained entry into Cross River State. He added that a recent case of a man who died a few weeks ago was also thought to be a Covid-19 case but he was tested and found to be negative.