The Cross River Government has expressed concerns over the recent lifting of the interstate travel ban saying the action may lead to spread and renewed surge in the cases of coronavirus infections across the country.
It would be recalled that after accessing the extent of COVID-19 spread in Nigeria, the apex government had Monday lifted the ban on interstate movement earlier imposed to flatten the coronavirus curve in the country.
The state’s Governor, Ben Ayade, said even though his state remains its coronavirus-free status, the action of the state government was not favorable to the state as the commencement of interstate movement may aid the spread of the infection into the state.
He explained that claims of possible cases of coronavirus in Cross River as being alleged in some sections, particularly the response it had generated on social media space necessitated the official clarification, adding that the government under his leadership has nothing to gain by playing politics with the lives of the citizens or hiding cases of infections in the state.
Briefing journalists and members of the state COVID-19 Response Team at the Government House, Calabar on Thursday, the Governor argued that those faulting the government claims were only out to mislead the undiscerning residents of the state.
According to him, the recent ban which was lifted on inter-state movement portends more danger for the residents as the state has succumbed to the order of the apex government, an action, he said had opened the state’s prevention strategy.
He, however, lauded the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for insisting that only the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test can confirm a positive case of COVID-19 in spite of pressures from different quarters.
“If you have the virus and pretend not to have it, you will only have mass deaths in your state. As a state, we were the first to lock down our boundaries. Records have it that Cross River is the only state that invested over 100 vehicles for effective manning of its boundaries and we even went beyond that by producing facemasks, shields, and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). So for some people to doubt the credibility of our COVID-19 free status is to imply that all the efforts of the state were not noticed.
At this point, the state has been handed over to the Federal Government; all our boundaries are now opened, following the lifting of the ban on inter-state movement by the federal government. Residents of the state must know that we no longer have control over our boundaries, we have surrendered to the supremacy of the federal government and opened our boundaries.
“Cross River that is COVID-19 free will now have an avalanche of cases, I see it coming, therefore, with this message, it means our response team would be back on the road because as long as our boundaries are opened, our eyes will be open.
“So, as a resident of the state, if you think by easing lockdown, you are now safer, no, now you are more in danger, this is the time for you to commence a personal lockdown.”
Ayade, however, thanked the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC for being a great example, playing a professional and technical role and given a world-class response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.