By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Cross River State Government has called on the Federal Government to provide more test kits and build a vaccine factory in the state to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The state Commissioner for Health and Chairman of the Covid-19 Response Task Force, Dr. Betta Edu, made the call Wednesday in Calabar at a news conference.
she said, “We have only 50 sample collection kits for 4.5 million people. How many tests can we produce in a week? We also got 200 personal protective equipment and four body bags. These things are not available. It takes 24 hours to send a test to Irrua and another 24 hours to get the result.
“Nothing has come from the Federal Government. Funding from the Federal Government will be appreciated or they should come and build covid-19 vaccine factory in Cross River to provide jobs for the people. We do not need rice or pasta. The Federal Government should deal with states on a case by case basis. They should come and support Cross River in agriculture for the post-Covid-19 era.”
The commissioner, who insisted that Cross River State was still Covid-19 free, said the “Federal Government should find out what the state was doing right that others could learn from. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has not commended us. It is possible that a state cannot have a case out of many that have. It is not compulsory that every state must-have. The pressure is becoming too much.”
She said there was a high level of sensitisation against the disease in the state when there was no coronavirus case in Africa, adding “Cross River was the first to screen people at the airport when there was no case in Africa and Nigeria. Cross River was the first to shut all its borders and screen people. It was also the first to introduce the use of masks. With all these measures, it is amazing that people are saying Cross River must have a case.”