Akwa Ibom State government says it is not contemplating another lockdown despite the high number of coronavirus cases fueled by the Delta variant of the pandemic because of the wider implications on the economy.
Though it maintains that it is an option, it stated that it would only come as a last resort, adding that it was still looking at the numbers as being released by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
According to the centre, Akwa Ibom recorded 88 cases, out of 566 new cases recorded in the country as at 5th August 2021.
Ini Ememobong, commissioner for Information and Strategy who made this known while reporting to journalists in Uyo, the state capital also denied reports that the state government was no longer picking the bills of COVID-19 patients describing such reports as untrue.
Ememobong who attributed the high numbers to ‘’aggressive’’ testing by the state government pointing out not only people with symptoms are tested but considering mobilising people for voluntary testing in the state adding that the current stock of vaccines had been exhausted.
“We are not having only people with symptoms tested, the numbers that we have are as a result of the aggressive testing bing carried out by the state government.
“We are not overwhelmed by the numbers, the state government is conscious of the high numbers, a lockdown is also an option, but it is not being contemplated and we are still treating Covid-19 patients, Free of Charge,’’ he said.
The commissioner, who also attributed the scarcity of food being experienced in many states including Akwa Ibom State, added that following the pandemic, many states were unable to return to intensive farming as was the practice before the outbreak of Covid-19.
He announced that the state government is supplying seedlings to farmers as part of measures to boost food production while new value chains are being created in coconut farming and plantation.
According to him, the price of coconut oil is more attractive than crude oil, making it the new crude of the state government. He also explained that huge investment was being made in agriculture and education, though he regretted that “there is huge deficit in education infrastructure’’ in the state even as over 28,000 school desks have been distributed across the state.
“A state of emergency has been declared in the education sector, all projects are now in that sector to address the deficit while school farms have been resuscitated,’’ he said.