COVID-19: Several Frontline Security Operatives Enforcing Lockdown Directives Feared Positive

Fears abound over the health of security operatives who have been on the frontline of enforcing the lockdown directives issued by the federal government to flatten the curve of COVID-19 pandemic.

THISDAY investigations revealed that some of the security operatives had tested positive for the virus, and had been quarantined, just as several others opted for self-medication.

This paper had last Monday exclusively reported that a lieutenant commander with the Nigerian Navy (NN), Chike Okoro, deployed to the Naval Pay Office in Lagos, had died from underlying complications of the virus.

Further investigation revealed that the navy was not the only service with personnel on the frontline who had been affected.

In Lagos, the army, civil defence and the police have had their personnel test positive for the virus and had been in the isolation centres receiving treatment.

It was also gathered that while there were those who voluntarily submitted themselves for test and subsequent treatment, there were yet others who manifested the symptoms but opted to self medicate on herbal mixtures and even hydrochloroquine, a malaria drug.

Presently, THISDAY gathered that to prevent community spread amongst its personnel, the navy, army and air force are carrying out rapid testing.

In the navy, the Western Naval Command (WNC) while carrying out the rapid testing on over 1,300 personnel discovered eight of its personnel tested positive. They have been isolated and quarantined.

In the case of the lieutenant commander that died, it was gathered that the navy immediately carried out contact tracing and discovered four persons that had come in contact with him – his driver, orderly, steward and a friend.

All four have been tested and are waiting for their results in isolation.

Confirming the incident, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), WNC, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, who debunked claims that several of his men were positive, said nonetheless, the navy had put workable measures on ground.

He said the navy mandated its personnel on joint operations to comply with all regulations on COVID-19 prevention, adding that a taskforce pays unscheduled visits to ensure compliance.

He said: “Nose mask is compulsory. The command also produced pocket sanitisers that they gave those of us in the field with strict warning to ensure we use it especially those who cannot avoid touching their faces.

(ThisDay)