THE Abia State government has embarked on a massive collection of samples and testing of residents in the state for coronavirus in a bid to halt the community spread of the virus in the state.
The state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, on Monday flagged off the exercise at the Apummiri headquarters of Umuahia South local government area.
He said the government targets testing at least 10,000 people living in the state.
The Secretary to the State Government and Chairman of State Inter-ministerial Committee on COVID-19, Chris Ezem represented Ikpeazu.
He said the objective of the enhanced testing was to break the chain of community transmission and end the spread of the COVID-19 in the state.
Ikpeazu said: “I enjoin all traditional rulers and members of their cabinet, village heads, women leaders and their cabinet, youth leaders, members of various organizations to come out for sample collection and testing.
“We are targeting 10,000 samples in the state within the shortest possible time.”
The governor said that his administration has done everything possible to ensure that the residents were safe from the pandemic and enjoined them to take the exercise seriously.
He stressed: “Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the government has not rested on its oars to keep residents safe. But we must take this community testing very serious. You don’t run any risk coming out for your samples to be collected and for you to be tested.
“This pandemic is real; this virus is everywhere. We are in the stage of community transmission. You cannot confirm the status of the next person sitting by you and that is why today, we are taking this bold step to embark on community testing in the 17 local governments areas.”
He said that the testing would help people to know their status. “If you test positive, our doctors are there, we have many facilities to nurse you back to good health. If you test negative, it is not license for you to throw caution to the wind. It means that you have to be more cautious and more disciplined,” he advised.
Ikpeazu who enjoined the people to continue to adhere to government guidelines and protocols meant to curb the spread of coronavirus, expressed displeasure that the guidelines were being violated with impunity and warned of dire consequences if the trend continues.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Osuji, reiterated that during this period, cases would be identified, positive ones would be isolated, while symptomatic ones will be treated as tracing and monitoring of contacts will be conducted
He said his ministry has trained frontline contact tracers for the exercise.