Despite the early Saturday morning scare from unconfirmed sources that Imo state had recorded its first COVID-19 case, Governor Hope Uzodinma has said that the virus has not found its way into the state.
The governor had in a broadcast to the people of the state later in the day made it clear that “we have been working round the clock to ensure that all necessary safety precautions are strictly adhered to in the state.”
He also said that the special committee on COVID-19, headed by Professor Maurice Iwu for the prevention of the disease in the state had been very effective in discharging its duties and assured that the government would leave no stone unturned as it work to ensure that the virus did not cross the state boarders.
The governor’s broadcast followed a COVID -19 scare at a two storied Fancy Hotel edifice located at Umuguma on the outskirts of Owerri capital city on that same day.
As early as 1am Saturday, men of the Department of State Security (DSS) stormed the hotel hoping to pick the proprietor, one Dr Aguwa from Aboh Mbaise, who is also the owner of Aguwa Aluminium, a roofing sheet company. Information filtered into town that he arrived from Australia, one of the COVID -19 proneD countries with about 2,806 cases and he allegedly left for Abuja after some days.
The intention of the DSS was to get information on his health status and those he had contacts with while staying in the hotel and possibly trace them for isolation and quarantine to avoid spread.
When Dr Aguwa could not be traced and his driver who could not also be traced, the only option left was for the state COVID- 19 committee to come in and ordered that both staff of the hotel and guests found in the hotel on that day, be placed on isolation for 14 days. Tests would be conducted on about 20 of them to see if they had contracted the dreaded virus through contacts with the suspected carrier returnee.
As at the time our correspondent visited the hotel late in the day, heavily armed men of the state’s Operation Iron Gate made up of soldiers, policemen and DSS, more than 10 in number with about 3 Hilux vans were still guarding the hotel and making sure there was no movement into and out of the hotel.