Information emerging from the seat of power in Ebonyi State stated that the government on Thursday has announced the closure of all private and public schools across the state for 7 days. Also, the National Obstetric Fistula Centre, NOFIC, Abakaliki has rescued its patients from the hospital, to curtail the spread of the outbreak at the nearby Virology Centre of the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, FETHA.
Explaining reasons for the schools closure, the State Commissioner for Education, John Eke, said it was necessitated to prevent the spread of the disease across the state, which had hitherto claimed 3 lives with several others admitted in the hospitals.
The commissioner, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria, explained that the government had embarked on the measure to effectively control and contain the spread of the dreaded Lassa virus which had claimed some lives including two medical doctors.
He however doused the tension in the state, saying the Lassa outbreak in the state was not alarming, and not out of check, but noted that the closure of schools was done to check the disease spreading into schools.
“First of all, I want to inform you that the issue of the outbreak of the Lassa disease is not in alarming rate, and what we have done is to ensure that we effectively put the spread under control.
“Again, a woman yesterday (Wednesday, January 17), was diagnosed positive of the virus and this patient has her children in schools. We believe that one of the best ways to handle the situation is to shut down our schools until we are sure that our pupils and students are safe.
“The schools will remain shut for seven school days to enable us monitor the situation and we appeal to parents, guardians and school authorities to comply with the directive,” Mr. Eke said.
The development at the NOFIC was also undertaken to control the spread of the disease, as both the hospital and the Virology Centre were built by the state government, with just a wall in between them.
Threatened by the situation, the management of the National Obstetric Fistula Centre evacuated all the patients in the hospital to an undisclosed hospital.