The Ondo State Taskforce on COVID-19 at the weekend arrested a female trader in Akure, Ondo State capital, who escaped from Imo state after testing positive.
The middle-aged woman who escaped from the isolation centre after being diagnosed, settled back in Akure to continue with her shoe and bag business before she was arrested on Saturday.
Speaking on the development, the Commissioner of Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, explained that the woman was arrested at the popular Oja Oba market where she was selling second-hand wares after mounting surveillance on her.
Adegbenro explained that the woman was originally diagnosed for the virus in far away Imo state but escaped to Ondo state without receiving treatment.
He stated that contact tracing of the patient’s family, friends and neighbours had begun and urged all who had transacted business with the woman to report for diagnosis.
He said “We saw a case yesterday who tested positive in Imo State and ran to Akure. It was those in Imo that gave us the report that somebody ran away from there. We had to track the woman down.
“Incidentally, she is a woman that sells shoes and bags in our market here. So, you only imagine how many people must have had contact with her now. We are line-listing them now and tracing the contacts.
“But that will be very difficult to do because somebody will just come in, buy and disappears; no address, nothing whatsoever. I think it is more important now that people should still keep away from the market”
Adegbenro appealed to residents of the state to stay at home unless necessary for them to go out, saying that community transmission of the coronavirus had become a reality in the state.
He said “There is a need for our people to cooperate and understand. We have been seeing cases for the last two to five days, even from Akure.
“This means we have what we call community transmission. It is now more important than never before that people should comply with COVID-19 protocol.
He said the government would soon review the situation if there is need for it and said “if there are pieces of evidence that we need to review the situation, we will go ahead because the safety of the people is paramount.
Speaking on the compliance of churches and other religious activities, he said “we are still encouraging them to improve on their performance so far; this will be a regular exercise and COVID-19 is very much around, we have started seeing community transmission. There is a need for everyone to comply with COVID-19 protocol so as to keep safe.
He said the state government will not hesitate to punish any erring offenders, and said, “We issued warnings to the erring ones but if we come around and see them with the same situation, the government may not have an alternative than to lock them down.”
Also speaking on the development, the Special Adviser to governor Akeredolu on Security, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, described the increase in the number of COVID -19 cases in the state as unfortunate.
He attributed the increase to the influx of people into the state despite the checkpoints put in place at various points in the state.
“It is quite unfortunate that people are beating all the checkpoints we put in place to check the influx of people into Ondo State. We have tried and we keep on trying.
“We blocked the major roads, feeder road, farm roads and nowhere we have not blocked but the problem we are having too is that the people on those areas are not cooperating.
“These are the people showing them new routes. The people in the villages are showing them new routes to enable them to beat the major checkpoints. We really want to be very proactive this time around, we are planning to improve on it. We are meeting again to restrategise.”
The number of Coronavirus cases in the state has risen to 41 with the tracking and subsequent arrest of a COVID-19 patient in Akure.
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