OPINION: Fighting COVID-19 with the Enugu state blueprint by Kelechi Emmanuel

OPINION: Fighting COVID-19 with the Enugu state blueprint by Kelechi Emmanuel

Editor's note: Public affairs commentator, Kelechi Emmanuel, writes on how the Enugu state government is tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, urging other states in Nigeria to emulate the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led administration if the threat of the coronavirus is to be contained across the country.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world since the turn of 2020, with every country battling to stem the blitz of infections and deaths that has resulted from this deadly virus. 

Nigeria has not been spared by this global scourge, with 4,151 cases confirmed by the NCDC as at May 10, 2020, not to mention the countless economic and social activities that have ground to a standstill just to have a chance at containing the virus. 

However, Enugu state, under Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has taken especially giant strides in ensuring that the state stays ahead in handling the pandemic.

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OPINION: Fighting COVID-19 with the Enugu state blueprint by Kelechi Emmanuel

A file photo of Governor Ugwuanyi addressing Enugu residents on the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo credit: Enugu State Govt
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With only 10 cases yet, the state is among those with the lowest number of infected. This statistic not just due to luck, but proactive action by the state government.

The ongoing initiative to distribute over 1 million face masks to residents of the state is one of the state's commendable plans to ensure conformation to the NCDC's safety and precautionary guidelines.

According to the deputy governor of the state, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, the initiative is aimed at catering for the health of the people in the state, as well as ensuring the smooth return of socio-economic activities.

The production of the face masks, undertaken solely by indigenous tailors and traders, has also served as an avenue for empowering youths in the state economically, with over 29,000 people to participate in the production and distribution chain.

In addition to the efforts to prevent community spread in the state, the government has also taken commendable action to prevent the importation of the virus into the state, by stringently ensuring the integrity of its borders.

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The state has made efforts to close and secure its borders with other states since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria and has made conscious efforts to prevent illegal transit across those borders.

These efforts, including the interception of over 50 vehicles by the State Task Force led by Hon. Izuchukwu Onah on May 6, have helped ensure that the state has not had to worry about an influx of the virus through state borders.

In conclusion, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi's proactive outlook in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic has ensured that Enugu state has not been hit as hard as most other states, as well as creating employment for residents in the process.

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This kind of approach should be emulated by other state governments if the threat of the coronavirus is to be contained in Nigeria.

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Besides, the governor recognised the risks being undertaken by frontline workers and has provided incentives in the form of an increase in hazard allowance to health workers and doctors in the state.  He has also ensured that civil servants get their salaries early enough to cushion the effect of the lockdown on them and their families.

Governor Ugwuanyi has not just been proactive in his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, he style of governance since he assumed office has won his many admirers even among the opposition parties. 

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