In the evening of Saturday, 28 March 2020, I was notified that I had tested positive for Covid-19. I immediately made a public disclosure of this sad news and proceeded into isolation under the strict supervision of our healthcare professionals.
I am delighted to report today, that after nearly four weeks of observing a strict medical regime, I have now received the all-clear after two consecutive negative test results.
I thank Almighty Allah for His grace and mercy. I also acknowledge with gratitude the massive outpouring of sympathy, prayers and public support that followed the disclosure of the infection. My family not only went through the trauma of potentially losing a member, but also the risk of being infected as well. The entire family has been supportive as usual, while my many friends and colleagues from all over the world have sent their prayers and best wishes.
I wish to thank the diligent medical personnel of our Ministry of Health and the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital who managed my case for their dedicated and professional care.
It was cheering to see the determined efforts of our Covid-19 Task Force chaired by the Deputy Governor, the officials of our Ministry of Health ably led by the Commissioner and our security/enforcement agencies, to manage and contain the spread of Covid-19 in the state.
I wish to acknowledge our Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, for her reassuring leadership of our team in my absence. In this trying period, our senior officials have demonstrated admirable commitment and the flexibility to provide governance in circumstances that are so different from the old normal. The commitment, competence and capabilities displayed by the Kaduna State Government in my four-week absence is clear evidence that we have a public service we can all be proud of.
I am relieved by my recovery. With the privilege of life, sound health, and the support and prayers of our citizens, I will continue to lead the Kaduna State Government’s efforts to ensure that as few of our people as possible get infected by Covid-19, and that those who do can receive adequate and timely care and treatment. Our emphasis is rightly on prevention because it is the prudent thing to do to save lives, given the limited capacity of our health system.
I am delighted by the recovery of four other Covid-19 cases who were discharged last week which was followed yesterday with the discharge of a fifth patient. On Monday, we received the sad news of three more positive cases in Kaduna State. They will receive the best care that our dedicated health professionals can muster and we wish them speedy recovery from Covid-19.
We must all work hard to ensure that we keep Covid-19 out of Kaduna State. We have lower infection rates than expected due to stringent measures we imposed in our state, but we cannot let our guards down. We are in dangerous times. This disease is a threat to our humanity, our lives and livelihoods. As someone that has experienced it, I will not wish it on my worst enemy.
We must reiterate that an infected person can show no symptoms as I did, for up to two weeks, while unknowingly infecting others close to him or even through casual contact. That is why mixing with many people is not a good idea. While four of every five infected persons show mild symptoms like headache, fever and cough and recover fully, there is evidence worldwide that older people and those with pre-existing health challenges like hypertension and diabetes are particularly at greater risk of dying if they get the Covid-19 infection.
We must therefore do everything to avoid exposure and prevent the spread of this disease in our towns and villages. We must now make the sacrifices of enhanced domestic hygiene, regular hand-washing with soap, staying at home and avoiding crowds to defeat this disease.
Let me conclude by informing the citizens of Kaduna State that I have issued another amendment to the Quarantine Regulations requiring everyone in the State to wear a face mask when going out of the home or workplace for any reason. The State Government is going to make these masks available free to the poor and vulnerable groups, and encourage everyone that can afford it to get their neighborhood tailor to sew cloth masks for their use. This will help protect them, their loved ones and everyone else from the spread of this disease.
Once again, we appeal to everyone to stay at home, observe social distancing, avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, and wash our hands with soap and water regularly.
Stay home, stay safe, save lives!
God Bless and Protect Kaduna State.
God Bless and Protect the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, OFR
Wednesday,22nd April 2020