Odahiekwu Ogunde, Yenagoa
State Civil Society COVID-19 Situation Room has raised the alarm over surge in the number of positive coronavirus cases and deaths recorded in the state lately.
The CISCOV-19, in a statement on Monday by its Convener and co-Convener, Robinson Kuroghobogha and Dise Ogbise, respectively, said it was even more shocking that the state government had not been forthcoming with explanations for the alarming rise in the number of confirmed patients and deaths.
CISCOV-19 said, “The Bayelsa State Civil Society COVID-19 Situation Room is gravely concerned about the marked increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases in the state and the general state of response to the pandemic, especially over the last month.
“This is a period which has witnessed an increase in COVID-19 cases in Bayelsa State from 12 positive cases on May 31, 2020 to the current count of over 180 cases, with 12 fatalities. This represents a fatality rate of 6.5 per cent, which is above both national fatality rate of just 2.5 per cent and the global average of five per cent.”
It noted that there was a clear information deficit provided to residents of the state as the number of confirmed infections and death toll had risen greatly over the last month.
It pointed out that lack of any official explanation for the spike in confirmed cases and fatalities had created room for insinuations and harmed genuine efforts to keep citizens well-informed.
It emphasised the need for the state government to recognise the significance of proper information management in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group also noted that the enforcement of guidelines on the ongoing partial lockdown of the state remained inefficient.
The group said the information gap also fuelled speculation over “an unprecedented and unexplained rise in cases of malaria and typhoid fever in the state over the last few weeks, despite the concerns expressed by citizens.”
The group, however, lauded the government for the recent shutdown of some pubs as well as issuing further guidelines to religious worship centres.
It advised the state COVID-19 task force, particularly its sub-committee on security, to be more alive in the enforcement of extant guidelines on the partial lockdown to urgently curtail the spread of the deadly disease.