COVID-19 varsity response: UNICAL inaugurates taskforce, partners Cross River govt to combat virus

The University of Calabar, Calabar has inaugurated for the university community, the Covid-19 task force.

In a phone interview with Professor Florence Obi, the Vice Chancellor hinted to Tribune Online that the taskforce was set to enable proactive and proper  management and control of information viz-a-viz  management in the case of the deadly Coronavirus in the university community. 

The government of Cross River State commended this laudable initiative while and pledged support to the university.

Chairman of the Nigeria Commissioners for Health Forum, Dr Betta Edu speaking at her office during the courtesy visit by the university Covid-19 task force emphasised the need for all Tertiary Institutions in the country to set up a COVID-19 Task Force team in their various Universities.

She remarked, “the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar Prof Florence Obi has blazed the trail by inaugurating the varsity’s task force team to ensure that the COVID-19 laid down rules/procedures are adhered to by returning Students and Staff.”

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Dr Akaba Kingsley, Chairman of the university team and leader of the delegation spelt out their assigned responsibilities to the Commissioner while soliciting for the State Government’s support to enable them effectively handle the large number of Students and Staff who will soon resume, precisely on February 5th.

Dr Edu who is Commissioner of Health and doubles as the CRS COVID-19 Taskforce Chairman again congratulated the Chairman of the Taskforce and his members noting that their appointment is a clear testament of their capacity, passion and commitment to responsibility given even in time past, while commending the Vice Chancellor Prof Florence Obi for always being exceptionally proactive in her duties. 

The Commissioner also  congratulated her once again on her well deserved appointment as the first Female Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar.

“A couple of weeks ago I advised on the need to decentralize the COVID-19 response into all Universities, with Universities setting up their own taskforce but linking same to the State Taskforce for better coordination and support am proud that my own State has set the ball rolling.

“Due to the large number of staff and students that will be returning back to school, it is of great importance that screening areas be created at every point of entry in and out of the school, where everyone would be screened using infrared thermometers. Everyone going through must use their face mask, hand washing facilities be provided at strategic locations within the School premises for regular hand washing, sub teams can be created in all facilities to ensure monitoring and enforcement of NO MASK NO MOVEMENT within the School. She noted.

She continued, “A holding area should be created at the Medical center for emergency cases before the invitation of the State Response Team, compulsory use of facemasks by all staff and students, hand sanitizers in all offices, sensitization materials pasted at strategic locations to awaken student’s consciousness. All these will prevent COVID-19 casualties,” Dr Edu said. 

On behalf of the state government, the Health Commissioner supported the team with PPEs, gloves, Medijet face masks, hand washing liquid soap, face shield, isolation gowns, and a list of other very important COVID-19 prevention items while calling on the School to adopt the Antigen Rapid Testing before using PCR test for further confirmation due to the high number of staff and Students in the Institution. She solicited the University management to assign the team a Vehicle  to ease their job while calling on other Universities to emulate the University of Calabar.

Students who fail to abide by the COVID-19 laid down procedures would be made to face the sanctions from the task force.

Dr Akaba was accompanied by Mr Omang Robert , Secretary of the taskforce, Dr Odey Paul Member, Mr Patrick Ogar Member and Mr George Odok the Committee Media Personnel.


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