COVID-19: Borno Records 30 cases, Clears Inconsistencies In Figures

Borno State government has cleared controversies and inconsistencies relating COVID-19 in the state with its number of confirmed cases at 30.

Nationwide, Nigeria has 1,182 confirmed cases with Lagos recording 689, the highest in the country.

On Saturday, the Borno government announced that the state had no new cases but the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) later announced 18 new cases for the state.

In a statement, Isa Gusau, spokesman for Borno State government, said the mix-up was due to a communication gap and late updates from the laboratory.

He said, “Borno’s response team did announce, during its evening briefing yesterday, that as at 24 hours, that is 6p.m. of Friday to 6p.m. of Saturday, there was no new case of coronavirus and that was the record.

“So, how come NCDC announced 18 new cases at night? At all times, many samples collected from traced contacts are with test laboratories in Borno.

“What came out before the briefing were results of 17 samples from Pulka, all of which tested negative.

“However, during the night, which was hours after our own briefing, more results came out from Borno’s COVID-19 test laboratory and the results were communicated to the NCDC.

“The laboratory works round the clock with samples always at hand.

“Remember that on Friday, the NCDC reported Borno had 12 cases, whereas the cases were 15 from our record.

“That happened because of communication gap, which has been filled and that was why the NCDC got last night’s update,” Gusau said.

He added that the state government was considering options to make its numbers tally with those of NCDC.

According to him, unless Borno’s response team and the NCDC announce results at exactly the same time, the figures may not tally.

This is because the COVID-19 laboratory is supposed to be working continuously, with new results coming out.

Gusau said, “The state response team may have to stop giving laboratory updates so that such updates only come from the NCDC.

“Doing that will of course amount to somewhat abdication of duty to the people of Borno, but could be less than the confusion of citizens getting two figures.

“Ideally, the citizens should hear state of affairs from its government.

“Nevertheless, the response team can still focus on other issues outside numbers of positive and negative cases from the COVID-19 laboratory,” he said.

Gusau added that the other option was for the state response team to, in addition to its daily evening media briefings, introduce night time statistical updates which could be released minutes before the NCDC updates.

He said, “when citizens hear news on emergencies from their government, their confidence is better enhanced than to hear about such from another source.”

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Anita Eboigbe

Anita Eboigbe is a journalist and data analyst with nearly a decade of media and communications experience in Nigeria. She has expertise in human interest reporting, data reporting, interactive content development and media business management. Anita has written for several national and international publications with a focus on communication for development. She holds an honours degree in Mass Communication and several certifications in data analysis and data journalism.

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