Kano State government and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have been called upon to investigate allegations that Ambassador Kabiru Rabiu, who was confirmed on Saturday to be the first COVID-19 case in Kano was at a diagnostic centre located within the premises of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH).
A source at AKTH who confided in Judicial Sketch said it would be cruel and inhuman if the said diagnostic centre concealed this information and allowed unsuspecting public to contract the virus just because they are bothered about business.
Judicial Sketch received information that a newly launched Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) Advanced Medical Diagnostic Centre hosted Ambassador Rabiu on Friday (April 10, 2020) in the evening as he went there for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanning.
According to AKTH newsletter, the centre is a collaborative effort between the federal government of Nigeria and private individuals, put together “to foster more advanced and rapid result on laboratory and radio diagnostic investigations.”
Our source said the former ambassador was whisked into a laboratory at the centre and ready to be scanned when a preliminary test revealed that he has a heart condition that would not allow the scanning to proceed. He was discharged without the scanning conducted. Obviously, the centre was not aware of his COVID-19 condition as at Friday.
By Saturday when his COVID-19 status became known however, the diagnostic centre simply told its staff who were on duty Friday and had contact with him to go home and observe self-isolation. They were allegedly sternly warned not to tell anyone about the fact that the index case had contact with them, in order not to jeopardise the booming business of the new centre.
Whether or not such self-isolation order was being religiously observed by the staff of the centre is not sure, and no one has been appointed to monitor them to ensure compliance. Also, none of them have undergone test for the virus, perhaps because they have not shown any symptoms yet.
As at the time this story was being published, the centre has not undergone any process of fumigation and has not been closed down to protect the unaware public from contacting the virus from contagious surfaces.
The spokesman of the diagnostic centre said since he was not an essential service worker, he has been observing the stay-at-home order declared by the government, so he was not aware of anything that may have transpired in his absence.
Already, Kano’s number of COVID-19 cases has more than doubled since Saturday when the first case was confirmed, and the state government has rolled out preventive modalities for the public to observe.
The government said it has traced all the contacts of the former ambassador as well as fumigated all the places he has been to, but if NSIA Advanced Medical Diagnostic Centre has been concealing the truth about the man’s contact with their staff and equipment, “this could be disastrous and litigious. The centre would be roundly liable for any harm that their insincerity may cause the public”, said a Kano-based lawyer
World Health Organisation (WHO’s) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday, lamented that some countries are seeing a doubling of cases every three to four days, but stressed that if countries were committed to “early case-finding, testing, isolating (and) caring for every case and tracing every contact” they could rein in the virus.