The Delta Government on Friday in Asaba named and appointed 50-year-old Chief Austin Eruotor, the state index case of Coronavirus (COVID-19), as COVID-19 Ambassador in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye, who made the disclosure to newsmen, said that the youngest victim of COVID-19 in the state was a two-month-old baby whose mother was also positive.
Ononye addressed the media in the company of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Chiedu Ebie, and the Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu.
He said, however, that the baby and her mother were currently being managed at the Asaba Specialist Hospital Isolation Center, adding that they were stable.
The health commissioner disclosed that the state had 116 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday.
He stressed that being COVID-19 positive was not a death sentence but that people should report cases to the relevant authority for quick intervention.
“The challenge we are facing has been that of stigmatisation and we want the media to speak against this and we must understand that COVID-19 is real and we must observe all the rules,” he said.
The SSG, while decorating the ambassador, charged the people to obey laid down rules regarding the pandemic as the government would not need to pursue people about, to save them from it.
According to him, the pandemic is real and the government has put some measures in place, including border closure and curfew, to contain the disease.
On his part, the commissioner for information said that the state government was determined to deepen sensitisation to ensure that the people stayed safe.
“The more people we are able to win through sensitisation, the better for us; though it’s a personal responsibility to stay safe, you have to protect the life of others by observing all rules,” Aniagwu said.
In his testimony, the COVID-19 ambassador said, “I hail from Abraka in Ethiope East Local Government Area of the state.
“I am popularly known as Austin Koko in Abraka town, where I fell sick before being taken to the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara, after testing positive to COVID-19 on April 7, 2020.
“COVID-19 is real; I want to thank God for healing me, and I want to thank Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for his intervention and for making me an ambassador for COVID-19 in the state.
“Many people say that COVID-19 is malaria and all sort of claims, but this is not true.
“I live in this country and I know what malaria is like. The trauma and pains associated with COVID-19 are different from those of malaria.
“At first when I had the symptoms of cold and coughing, I thought it was malaria and I was treated for malaria for six days to no avail. In the process, I spent about N110, 000 for treatment and testing which yielded no result.
“But I was diagnosed and I tested positive to COVID-19 and was taken to Oghara Teaching Hospital Isolation Center, by the team led by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye.
“I was at the isolation centre for 36 days before being discharged; my lung was traumatised. I had cough and difficulty in breathing and was under oxygen for 5 days,” he said.
Eruotor expressed surprise that some people still doubted the existence or reality of the pandemic.
“I was born and brought up in Nigeria and can tell the difference between malaria and COVID-19 disease.
“I am appealing to everybody to observe the rules and I am ready to go through the length and breadth of the state and even to any part of the country to sensitise the people on the danger of COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
Also, Mr Jerry Azinge, a lawyer who tested positive to COVID-19 and was admitted in the treatment centre in Asaba Specialists Hospital, said he spent 18 days in the isolation centre where he was treated.
“I was fatigued and had sleeping difficulty at night. I had no cough but I tested positive to coronavirus and had to be in the facility for 18 days before being discharged.
“The treatment was free and I had free meals three times a day in a well-furnished and air-conditioned centre; I was traumatised by the disease and was lonely.
“The disease is real, though it presents in different ways I will suggest that anyone with running a fever in any hospital for more than seven days should be tested for COVID-19,” he said.