Kano State government is faced with the difficult decision to lock down the state in order to have better opportunity of tackling the spread of COVID-19.
The state’s first confirmed case was announced by the governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Saturday, and involved an aged former ambassador, Kabiru Rabiu, who traveled around the country to Kaduna, Abuja and Lagos before returning to Kano, apparently at a time the virus has been ravaging those areas.
A member of the state executive council confided in Judicial Sketch that the governor has been consulting with healthcare professionals within and outside the state, and the dominant opinion was that the state be locked down for an initial period of two weeks.
Our source said the process of contact-tracing has commenced but has its limitations because the index case has been in contact with a considerable number of people since his return to the state before he was confirmed to be positive on Saturday.
Another source of worry was that the index case has been to a private hospital (Prime Specialist Hospital) where doctors attended to him while attending to other patients as well. He was said to have also been to some private diagnostic centres (Providian Diagonistic Center, FAN Diagonistic Center) in the state where specimen where taken from him alongside other people.
There are insinuations that he attended wedding ceremonies and was seen at Friday congregation prayers (Da’awah Juma’at Mosque and Dan Adalan Kano Juma’at Mosque) since his return to Kano, “and the most dangerous part of the whole scenario was that people trooped to his house even after he has become critically ill and has been suspected of having contracted COVID-19. His sample was taken for testing, and while result was being awaited, he received visitors at his residence.”
Our source said all the places the former ambassador was confirmed to have visited since he returned to Kano have been fumigated, “his residence inclusive. This is to forestall spread.”
He said even though the government has asked people who know they have been in contact with the former ambassador in the past week to come forward, experience has shown that some will not come, hence “the need to go hunting, and contact-hunting would not be effective if people keep moving about freely.”
“A number of our people still consider COVID-19 a mirage, and if decisive measure is not taken, people will just be indifferent and continue to spread it. Don’t forget that Kano’s population is high and most live in clustered areas. Government is conscious of the fact that it must take this painful decision and be decisive about enforcing it.”
He said some of the things the government is bothered about are the plight of the poor and vulnerable families, as well as the approaching fasting month of Ramadan, “so consultations are still ongoing on how we will provide palliatives as well as how the lock-down will affect the Ramadan activities in the state. But from what is on ground now, and considering the danger we are faced with, lock-down in Kano is inevitable, unless some miracles happened.”