COVID-19: Mass Testing Commences In Akwa Ibom

The Akwa Ibom govern ment has commenced mass testing of residents and citizens for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This was disclosed by the state commissioner for health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, when he reacted to the rumours that the state Ministry of Health was to be shut down. Ukpong said that there was no plan to shut down the Ministry of Health or any other ministry over COVID-19 infection, recently. He explained that the recent mass testing of personnel of the ministry marked the commencement of testing of the work force as part of government's effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the state. Ukpong intimated that Government House personnel had been screened and that the Health Ministry was the first among the ministries and paratatals to be screened as charity, he added, begins at home. He further said that the personnel of the Health Ministry were the front liners in the COVID-19 fight, hence the need to protect them. The commissioner explained that early detection of the virus enabled timely intervention which, he added increased the chances of survival of the infected persons. Also speaking, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Patrick Essiet, while encouraging the staff that tested positive for COVID-19, said that being positive of COVID-19 was not a death sentence. He urged them to cooperate with the health personnel and to avail the contact tracing  team with useful information as such would enable the protection and well-being of their loved ones. Essiet said that the ongoing mass testing in the service was to complement the alerts from suspected cases coming from the general public.  He expressed optimism that every staff that had been infected would recover soonest and return to work. The permanent secretary who congratulated persons whose results came out negative, urged them to continue to observe good physical distance and personal hygiene, while warning them against stigmatising those who tested positive. Dr. Godfrey Akro, director, public health,  lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for establishing the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) laboratory at Itung Mbang, said it was the provision of a state owned laboratory  that made the mass testing a possibility. Akro pointed out that as front liners  in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, it was imperative the Health Ministry pioneer the mass testing exercise.

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