Delta Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, has said that a coronavirus (COVID-19) patient escaped from one of the state’s treatment centres on Monday.
Mr Aniagwu disclosed this on Tuesday when he visited the Delta Chapter of the Association of Community Newspaper Publishers of Nigeria (ACNPN) and Delta Online Publishers Forum (DOPF) in Asaba.
He said that modalities had been put in place to track him as he remained a potential danger to the society because he had not fully recovered from the infection.
“We had a situation yesterday where somebody who was being treated left the facility in controversial circumstances.
“We have put in place machinery to bring him back and we have told the general public and all those who know him to stay clear from him because he actually tested positive,” he said.
Aniagwu said that as at date, the state had recorded 88 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with eight deaths occasioned by the disease while 17 patients were discharged as at date in the state.
He said there was the need for concerted efforts to “flatten the curve” of the virus.
According to Aniagwu, we need to flatten the curve so that we can go back to our normal life.
“But the more we are able to observe the existing protocols, the better we are able to exit the pandemic on time.
“For us to return to our normal life, we need your assistance to enlighten the people because this scourge is real; we will remain focused and not be distracted by criticisms.
“As at today, our total confirmed cases stand at 88; 17 patients have so far been discharged and unfortunately, we lost eight persons to the pandemic due to underlying ailments,” he said.
He said the state government under the leadership of Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa was committed to building a better, stronger and smarter Delta, such that would benefit all the people of the state.
He said the state government had taken steps to develop the state in the last five years, adding that a lot of the electoral promises by the governor had been fulfilled.
“We can beat our chest that we have surpassed very many of the promises we made during electioneering.
“We have a covenant with the people of Delta to create jobs, build infrastructure and make life meaningful for our people.
“We have so far constructed over 400 roads spanning 1,300 kilometres, with line drainages among other infrastructure.
“In the days ahead, we are counting on the same support, if not more, because your reports have so far culminated in the rating of Delta as second in terms of standard of living in the country.
“We plead with you to continue to assist us in the sensitisation of our people,’’ the commissioner said.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, who was in the company of the commissioner, thanked the publishers for their reports.
He, however, urged them to always cross-check unverified reports, particularly in the social media, to avoid sensationalism and falsehood.
“I thank you for the wonderful work you have been doing by reporting the activities of government at all times.
“It is not by accident that the journalism profession was termed the fourth estate of the realm, because of the role it plays in the development of every nation.
“As key stakeholders, I commend you for your developmental publications, which have showcased the numerous activities of the state government.
“Okowa runs a very transparent government and will always welcome constructive criticisms from any quarters,” Ifeajika said.
In his remarks, ACNPN Chairman, Comrade Jude Obiemenyego, welcomed the commissioner and his entourage and assured that the publishers would remain committed to the development of the state.
He said the group had resolved to ensure that only well-verified reports were published by members of the association.
He urged his colleagues to always seek clarification before making any publication to ensure balanced reports, adding that the group worked hard to publicise activities of government, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
On his part, DOPF Chairman, Comrade Emmanuel Enebeli, appealed for government patronage to the group to keep members afloat.