Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Sunday announced the first index case of the deadly coronavirus in the state but urged the citizens not to panic.
Umahi made the announcement in a broadcast from his hometown Uburu, Ohaozara LGA of the state.
The governor disclosed that the index case was a 31-year old driver who operated a hire purchase commercial transport business with his Toyota Sienna.
The governor said that the index case conveyed food items from the Ondo-Ore route to the south east part of Nigeria.
“He hails from Ukawu, in Onicha LGA of the state and also conveys passengers from the same route to Ebonyi and other south east states.
“The index case made two journeys on the route in 2020: one on March 29, returning to Ebonyi on April 1 and secondly on April 12, he said.
The governor said that the index case could not get passengers during his last trip which made him wait in Ore, sleeping in petrol stations and motor parks.
“He eventually made his way to the state and on his way, saw three Ebonyi citizens who informed him that they were going back to the state but had no money for transport.
“They called their parents and they agreed to pay him while in the state and this was about April 15.
“They made their way to Ebonyi from then till April 24 when they arrived the state’s boundary and passed through Ivo LGA of the state to Afikpo North LGA.
“They got to Okposi in Ohaozara LGA where the council chairman apprehended and handed him to the Okposi police post.
“It is our policy not to allow our people who reached the boundary to be stranded but we take them to the Pa Ngele Oruta stadium, Abakaliki for quarantine and testing.
“We did so to the driver as he was tested on Saturday and it turned postiive and when I was informed, I directed that another test be conducted on him on Sunday morning since the other three persons he was conveying turned negative.
“It still turned positive but we directed that the 300 persons at the stadium though he didn’t have direct contact with them, to be tested in the next three to four days.
Umahi said that the driver, who had been isolated at the state’s isolation centre in Abakaliki, had not shown any sign of the disease and was receiving the best treatment.
“I urge our people not to panic as we are evaluating the situation and ensure that the citizens would be safe,” he said.