The Federal Government, Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Ministry of Health have been called to investigate claims by the Cross River State government that the test results had returned and there are COVID-19 cases in the state.
The COVID-19 Central Working Committee of Health Professionals in the state made the call through a press statement signed by the chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Agam E. Ayuk and its secretary Dennis Ekpo, calling on the government to hold all those responsible for compromising testing in the state responsible.
The Health Professionals also demanded explanations on the whereabouts of over 25 samples collected, stressing that the NCDC records only showed eight (8) samples underwent PCR tests.
This, the group said it was an unethical practice that has endangered the lives of health workers and, more importantly, that of the populace.
After its meeting, the committee claimed it reviewed the issues bordering on COVID-19 response in the state and came up with the confirmation of five (5) cases from the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital Calabar (UCTH).
The group said that the five (5) samples that were sent to the NCDC accredited molecular laboratory at Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki were delivered on Monday, June 29, 2020.
Following receipt of specimen collection kits from NCDC by UCTH on Sunday, June 28, 2020, the samples included two patients who were already on admission at the UCTH Isolation Centre, one patient who was billed for surgery and two Medical Doctors who had respiratory symptoms (both staff of UCTH).
The group, however, informed the people that COVID-19 is real and present in Cross River State. It advised the public to neither panic nor stigmatise COVID-19 patients; rather, to take responsibility and steps to protect the vulnerable and adhere to the NCDC protocols/guidelines of regular hand washing, social/physical distancing, and use of facemasks to protect themselves.