* Hails efforts of Gov Wike on firm response to COVD-19
By Codratus Godson
The Director-General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chike Ihekweazu, has advised the manager of the Nigerian economy to consider reopening it gradually because the lockdown cannot be forever.
The DG stated this Sunday afternoon in Port Harcourt where he appealed to the stakeholders to begin to work towards gradually reopening the economy without endangering the populace.
The NCDC boss also urged the private sector to focus more on helping the states to build their capacity to respond to the virus.
Dr Ihekweazu commended Gov Nyesom Wike for what he called the governor’s ‘firm and personal leadership to check the spread of coronavirus in Rivers State.’
Speaking during a meeting with Gov Wike in Government House, the DG of the NCDC said that Rivers State is important in the fight to stop the spread of the virus. Gov Wike had berated the federal authorities on Friday for allegedly marginalizing the second largest economy in Nigeria and one of the biggest oil states.
The DG however said: “This is a working visit. I want to thank you for your firm, strong, committed and personally led response to COVID-19 in Rivers State.
“Rivers is one of the most important gate-ways into the country. One of the most important economies in the country . So, Rivers is important , not only to you but to the entire country.
“We thank you very much for your leadership and we need your leadership to continue in order for us to continue doing our work nationally.”
The DG said that his team is in Rivers State to engage with the state’s public health team to consolidate on the successes on the fight against coronavirus. He noted that because of the unique nature of the virus, all stakeholders must work in Unity. “We share information across the states to make sure that everyone is informed as they can possibly be. We share Information on new developments, strategies, what works and what doesn’t work.
“Whether it is in detection, prevention and treatment, our role as NCDC is to make sure that our technical colleagues , are able to respond at all levels and are supported in any way with the expertise they need.”
Responding on behalf of the Rivers State Government, Health Commissioner, Princewill Chike, said that Gov Wike has strengthened the public health system of the state to fight coronavirus.
He said before the coronavirus pandemic, the Rivers State Government was already battling Lassa Fever, Monkey Pox and HIV/AIDS.
Commentators said the advice from the NCDC boss is the new way to think in the coming days. Nigerian leaders would now begin to work out ways of curtailing the spread of the disease while also allowing the populace to return to productive lives.