By Temitope Akintoye,
The Akwa-Ibom State Government has ordered that reconfirmation tests be carried out on its five reported cases of coronavirus infection following recorded processing irregularities in conduct of the initial medical tests.
It explained that several breach of protocol had occurred during testing and reporting of the results, and that such had necessitated that fresh tests be taken by the suspected patients in order to ensure that accurate results were being received.
The Commissioner for Health, Dominic Ukpong revealed that the tests had been conducted and results released without following laid down procedure of conduct, and that aspersions had thus been cast on the positive test results which were later announced by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
In a statement released on Thursday, Ukpong disclosed that contrary to laid down protocol, the state government was not properly briefed on the test results but had found out about them in the news, and that it also gathered that the NCDC Director General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, was unaware of the result as at time of announcement.
Furthermore, he said that the state had previously sent several samples for testing which had returned negative, and that the five suspected patients, who were being held on isolation in NCDC approved test facilities, had yet to show symptoms of the novel viral infection.
He urged the disease control agency to ensure that proper testing protocol would be followed on future tests so as to restore confidence in the results being received, and also to avoid such situation where retesting of same persons become necessary.
The commissioner, who expressed hope that the procedural shortcomings which affected the first test results would be taken care of in future tests, assured the people that government would follow due process in release of the new test results.
He advised residents of the state to continue observance of personal hygiene guidelines and to obey social distancing principles in order to aid government drive to curb possible spread of the global pandemic in the state.
“Residents and citizens are enjoined to remain calm while observing all personal and respiratory hygiene guidelines earlier issued as well as adhere to the social distancing prescriptions. The Enforcement Committee of the Quarantine and Restriction of Movement Regulations 2020 have been mandated to see to the full operation of the provisions of the regulations. Together, we can stop the spread of this pandemic. Let’s be safe; let’s stay safe”.