After some days in self-isolation for being unwell, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State says he has tested negative for COVID-19.
The governor also said his wife and members of his family have tested negative for the virus but that two of his aides have tested positive.
Persecondnews had reported that the governor, after feeling unwell, had isolated himself and shunned public engagement since last week.
The State Commissioner for Environment and member of the State’s COVID-19 Committee, Dr Solomon Ogunji, had died on May 23
in what the state government described as after “a brief illness”.
He was, however, believed to have died of COVID-19 as his wife and children have tested positive for Coronavirus.
Following the commissioner’s death, the Abia Government had in a statement on May 31 directed all members of the committee and State Executive Council to undergo mandatory COVID-19 test immediately and thereafter isolate themselves.
The statement said: ”Following the outcome of tests conducted on close family members of a late member of the state executive council (Exco) and member of the Inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19, Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has directed all members of the committee and those of the Exco who might have recently come in contact with the late commissioner to immediately undergo COVID-19 tests and isolate themselves thereafter pending the outcome of the tests.
“Governor Ikpeazu who is still in mourning will also subject himself to all other necessary protocols as he has directed his Exco members including the Deputy Governor to do.
Ikpeazu, however, on Tuesday said: “Leading this battle from the front as your governor, I and all members of the first family subjected ourselves to COVID-19 tests on Saturday, 30th May 2020 and the results came out negative today.’’
“Unfortunately, results of two of my aides, who also subjected themselves to COVID-19 tests, were positive while others turned in negative results,’’ the governor said in a statement signed by him and obtained by Persecondnews.
On the officials who have tested positive and have been admitted to the state’s isolation facility, the governor said he was confident that they would be successfully “nursed back to good health’’, and announced plans to start massive testing of the people to curb the spread of coronavirus in the state.
“The new phase of the fight against COVID-19 in Abia will require the state to embark on a massive test of citizens to achieve at least 10 per cent coverage of the population at the initial stage of the exercise.
“The state epidemiologist has been directed to work out modalities for case searches using sample population size of between 30 persons to 250 persons, in some densely populated local government areas of the state,” Ikpeazu said.
He, however, advised residents to stop stigmatizing COVID-19 patients and their families as well as those who had recovered from the disease, saying people should eschew rumour-mongering and get involved in the battle against the disease by supporting the state government’s efforts against COVID-19.
“Let me put it on record that statistics show that far more people recover from the virus than those who pass away from it.”
The governor also directed the transition committee chairmen of the 17 local government areas and their deputies to present themselves for COVID-19 test and isolate themselves pending the release of theirt results.