Many rank and files of the police are now living in fear as coronavirus, yesterday, claimed the life of a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in Edo State.
The senior police officer (name withheld), until his death, was attached to the Zone 5 Headquarters of the Nigeria Police in Benin.
Sources close to the Zonal Command Headquarters said the officer, a lawyer, who hailed from Cross River State, “suddenly took ill on April 14 and was being managed by qualified medical doctors until he died of the virus on Tuesday.”
It was learnt that but for the lockdown by the Federal Government, the late DCP was one of those whose promotions to the rank of Commissioner were being considered by the Police Service Commission (PSC).
Authorities at the zonal and state commands of the police as at yesterday kept sealed lips on the death of the officer.
But a senior officer at the state Police Command Headquarters in Benin said that the state Commissioner of Police was the only authority to announce the DCP’s death.
Following the DCP’s death, the Zone 5 Headquarters has been thrown into mourning. “We are in a mourning mood right now,” a senior officer said.
He described the late DCP as “a man vast in knowledge, who has gone through the mill in the Police Force”.
Edo State has so far recorded three deaths due to COVID-19.
The Edo Commissioner for Health, Patrick Okundia, has confirmed the death of the police officer. Okundia, who confirmed the death of the patient to newsmen in Benin, described it as unfortunate.
“We had an unfortunate situation of a 57-year-old police officer, who passed on yesterday (Tuesday).
“It is not very clear how he got the infection, but he developed some illnesses. Initially, there was no evidence of suspicion of coronavirus disease, but when the symptoms started getting worse, he was treated at the police clinic.
“About two days before he died, our surveillance team was called to have a look and it was in that process that they took his sample and sent it to the laboratory, while he continued with his drugs. “He was consequently placed on self-isolation.
However, the result came out positive. Before we could get to his house to move him out, the man had died.
“It is really unfortunate, as the result came after the man had died,” he said.
Edo State has 15 confirmed cases, with seven discharged and two deaths so far, while six active cases are in isolation centres. Meanwhile, Ekiti, yesterday, recorded its first COVID-19 death.
The state’s Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, confirmed the development at a press conference in Ado Ekiti.
She said the victim, the third positive case in the state, died after all efforts to save her life were unsuccessful. According to her, the 29-year-old woman died at the Intensive Care Unit of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, where she had been receiving medical care after she was delivered of her baby some days ago.
“The woman showed signs of stability on Monday, but unfortunately, her condition deteriorated yesterday, (Tuesday) and we lost her exactly 6.58a.m. on Wednesday,” she said.
The commissioner expressed regrets that the deceased had infected a 45-year-old medical doctor in the state in the process of her being delivered of her baby. She said the medical doctor was identified as the fourth case in the state by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
When asked if the remains of the late COVID-19 patient would be released to her family, the commissioner said the state was still studying the situation and would comply with the World Health Organisation’s safety rules on burial of such victims.
“We are going to liaise with the family on her burial. We are going to consider safety despite that there was assumption that the virus is not active in corpses because we don’t know much about the virus,” she said.
Yaya-Kolade said the hospital where the patient died had been sanitised by government since the woman was hospitalised.
She, however, advised members of the public not to stigmatise the hospital because of the incident.
The commissioner gave an assurance that the state would not be discouraged by the incident, but would continue with its surveillance and sensitisation on the pandemic.
She said a total of 78 persons who had contacts with the deceased and the medical doctor had all been traced and placed in isolation. Also, the Borno Government yesterday announced a second death from COVID- 19 outbreak.
The Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, who is also the Chairman of the State High Powered Committee on COVID-19, made this known while giving an update on the pandemic in the state.
“The deceased is from Biu town and already his contacts have been traced.
One of his contacts is a trader in Biu market.
Following this development, the state government has ordered the closure of market for immediate fumigation.
“As of today, 144 contacts had been traced, 55 were tested and nine people tested positive, including the two that died,” he said.
He urged the public to maintain hygiene and other precautionary measures advised by experts. The first case was a retired anaesthetic nurse, who died at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital on Saturday.
Following the confirmation of the COVID-19 index case in Borno, Governor Babagana Zulum ordered a two-week total lockdown as from yesterday.