The Bayelsa Government has debunked the rumour that there are cases of coronavirus in the state, noting that the news making the round to that effect is fake.
Dr Inodu Apoku, Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa Ministry of Health who dispelled the rumour at a conference on Friday in Yenagoa, said the storywas fabricated to cause fear..
He warned the public against the spread of rumour on coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Apoku, however assured the peple of government’s commitment to preventing the outbreak and spread of the disease and urged them not to fear, but to always embrace the facts about the pandemic.
The permanent secretary said: “Stop the spread of fake COVID-19 news in Bayelsa.
“It has come to the notice of the Ministry of Health that all manner of persons and characters, including people who are supposedly well-informed, have taken it upon themselves to be courier of malicious and fake rumour about COVID-19, particularly through the social media in the state.
“On Thursday, there were heightened rumours of suspected COVID-19 cases in the state, including the case of a man in Odoni community, Sagbama Local Government Area.
“ He was alleged to be very sick, following his return from South Korea, and that of an American said to have returned to the University of Africa recently from U.S.A.
“As usual, when we heard the rumour, our state Rapid Response Team made up of doctors, public health nurses, epidemiologist and team from WHO and NCDC official, were promptly dispatched to investigate the rumours.”
He said that the Korean returnee in Odoni was found to be in a perfect state of health.
“Following the present National travel guideline, he was instructed to self isolate for 14 days after being screened at the international airport.
“At present, he has completed his 14 days self isolation and he is in good health. The case of American returnee was a complete fabrication.
“There is also the case of a Ghanaian returnee, who visited the state diagnostic centre to inquire about the possibility of running a COVID-19 test.
“He was referred to the ministry and was investigated by the state Rapid Response Team. He has no symptoms and he is in good health.
“So, there is no suspected case of coronavirus in Bayelsa till this very moment,” the permanent secretary said.
Apoku defined a suspected case as any person, including severely ill patients, presenting with fever, cough or difficulty in breathing and who, within 14 days before the onset of illness had any form of exposure.
“We appeal to well meaning people of Bayelsa to desist from peddling rumours and fake news.
All enquiries and information about COVID-19 should be directed at the Ministry of Health for verification before spreading them.
“The state government is leaving no stone unturned in her bid to stem the threat of the dreaded disease in the state.
“The general public is encouraged to report ALERT by calling the following numbers: 08039216821, 07019304970 and 08151693570,” he added.
He advised individuals to wash their hands frequently with soap or use alcoholic-based sanitiser when there is no water.
“Cover your mouth and nose properly with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing.
“Dispose tissue paper after use. Avoid contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness like cough and sneezing,’’ he said.