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Abia Apprehends Wanted COVID-19 Suspect

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Zainab Sanni

The Abia State Government has confirmed that the suspected COVID-19 patient who was declared wanted has now been apprehended.

The State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi-Kalu revealed this on Saturday in a press statement.

Okiyi-Kalu said the suspect who initially contacted the National Control Room of National Center for Disease and Control (NCDC) and said he was manifesting symptoms of COVID-19 had disappeared by the time the NCDC response team got to his given location. He was apprehended on Saturday morning at a-yet-to be disclosed location in Aba, with the help of security agents.

The suspect who is now at the Abia State COVID-19 Center at the Amachara General Hospital in Umuahia South Local Government Area of the state also gave a fake name to the team before he was declared wanted.

Okiyi-Kalu said “COVID-19 patient COVID-19 medical Rapid Response (RR) Team in the state received information from NCDC national control room on a suspected COVID-19 patient named Vincent Prosper who called them from Abia State to report among other things that he was manifesting symptoms of the virus and recently had contacts with a confirmed patient in neighboring Akwa Ibom state in addition to recently returning from Lagos.

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“Our team immediately swung into action and called the number forwarded, took notes and asked the individual to isolate himself pending our arrival to take samples for testing.

“On arrival at the given location, he disappeared and was later to confess that he saw the ambulance and the fully kitted RR-team, lost courage, detested the possibility of being locked down and decided to switch off his phone and disappear into thin air.

“We continued to look for him quietly and at some point got him again on the phone and he gave us a wrong address at Azikiwe Road and a team was immediately dispatched to the location but did not find him there.

“At that point, we decided to enlist the services of a top security agency in the state to find him and also alerted members of the public yesterday regarding the situation in the hope that he would voluntarily come forward. He never did!

“But late last night, the security agency pinned his location down and this morning our RR-team stormed the location with security agents and took him into custody at our isolation facility at Amachara where we have now collected samples from him and dispatched to NCDC for testing.

“He is now fully cooperating and all necessary information given, including the fact that while he actually recently returned from Lagos he didn’t visit Akwa Ibom state since his return though he resides in a border community to Akwa Ibom State.

“His real name is also not Vincent Prosper and he actually made the call to NCDC Control room.

“It is important to inform our people that COVID-19 is not a death sentence and nobody should be stigmatized because of it.

“If you suspect you are showing symptoms of the disease please call 0700 2242 362 and we will confidentially do the needful. So far, all samples tested from Abia State returned negative and we continue to handle issues with utmost confidentiality and professionalism.”

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