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EDITORIAL:THE CHALLENGE OF CORONAVIRUS IN DELTA STATE

For the Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, this is not a good moment. The reason is obvious. The latest report about the dreaded novel pandemic, CoronaVirus (COVID-19) shows 532 confirmed cases as of June 23, a top aide to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, Olisa Ifeajika, made the announcement in Asaba on Tuesday.

Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Ifeajika said the pandemic had gulped a huge chunk of money from the government since the disease was recorded in the state. While noting that 20 deaths had been recorded in the state with 382 active cases, while 130 patients had been discharged from Isolation Centres, Mr. Ifeajika added that the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Chiedu Ebie, and the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, was among people who tested positive for the disease. And the latest addition to this list is the daughter of Governor.

Why this development is very painful to both the government and the people of the State is that a while ago, the State made some progress in containing the crisis posed by the pandemic. Governor Okowa recognized early enough that it was his patriotic duty to care for Deltans. And not only did he rise to that challenge, but he provided that care at the fundamental levels. But with this increase in number of cases, the benefits appear too low and portray the state as an environment that has fallen short of adequate effort.

Without any shadow of the doubt, Governor Okowa’s led administration, in recent weeks, before the first Coronavirus case was recorded in the State, has demonstrated to the entire world through proactive arrangements, that there is always a legitimate and responsible way to provide people-purposed leadership that guarantees not just protection but improvement in the people’s life chances.

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Deltans recall how the State government during lockdown period created Food Banks and made appreciable palliatives for the people. And was often always available in conjunction with other State government officials to monitor situations as well as give situation periodic report about what his government has, and is doing to arrest the situation. To some reasonable extent, that leadership initiative demonstrated provided a global gateway for the State Government officials and their National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), counterparts to reach out to the masses.

Also worth commending is the governor’s ordered decontamination of the offices of the SSG, Ministry of Information and that of the CPS because of their close affinity, coupled with his decision to hold most government meetings in the State through modern communication platforms, in a bid to check the spread of the virus.

However, the Newspaper also holds the opinion that Mr. Governor must further recognize that the largest room known to mankind is the room for improvement. And on this foundation, step up the process of tackling this pandemic that appears to have defiled every solution.

Particularly, it is the Newspaper’s opinion that Governor Okowa draws a lesson from Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, the Executive Governor of Lagos State who within this period of Coronavirus crisis increased the risk allowance of medical/health officials in the State from Five Thousand Naira (N5000), to Twenty Five Thousand Naira (25,000). Replicating such in Delta State is urgently important as it is obvious that the health workers in the State are not optimally motivated.

Deltans on their part should endeavor to support the determined effort of the State Government to defeat the Coronavirus pandemic by keeping to the rules as handed down by the World Health Organization(WHO) and National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC); which includes but not limited to washing of the hands regularly with soap and running water, and when that is not immediately available, use alcohol–based hand sanitizers as it is important that we stress the need for social distancing by trying as much as possible to be about 6 feet apart from the next person.

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