Monday, 4 May 2020

Borno State Shuts Out Media Over COVID-19

Borno State coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response team has shut the media out of the daily updates over rising cases of the pandemic in Maiduguri metropolis.

During the two-day media blackout, residents were allegedly denied information on COVID-19 in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and communities.

According to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as at April 29, the state has 69 confirmed cases with nine deaths.The confirmed cases put Borno on the fifth position out of 35 states that have the disease in the country.

The skipping of daily media briefing by response team led by Chairman, Umar Kadafur, who is also the deputy governor, however, negated Governor Babagana Zulum’s directives on daily media updates on COVID-19.

The team has not told journalists the reason(s) for the media blackout, which was stalled after some prominent citizens allegedly died of the virus. However, the state has recorded two more deaths with the infection of 16 health workers.

Response team Secretary, Dr. Salihu Kwayabura, who is the Commissioner for Health, disclosed on Saturday in Maiduguri, that the total death toll stood at 11, even as he denied knowledge of the number of cases in the state. “I don’t have the record now,” he said.

While lamenting that the existing isolation centres in the state were over-stretched, he said that a new centre would be build this month to accommodate 500 to 1,000 beds.

Speaking on community spread of virus, he said the team was able to restrict the spread to Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC), Jere, Biu, Dikwa and Gwoza.

Meanwhile, Governor Zulum is targeting 6,000 vulnerable residents for the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives in three wards of Maiduguri metropolis.
Saturday’s distribution was effected after the governor flagged off distribution of palliatives last week at Customs House IDP camp.

“Today’s (Saturday) distribution of food items are for the vulnerable groups living in Gwange I, II and III,” he said at the weekend, disclosing that the targeted wards were highly populated with residents living below the poverty line.He said they would collect a variety of food items, including condiments and seasonings. According to him, similar food items will also be distributed to other wards of MMC and Jere.

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