COVID-19: SGF, Ehanire, Aregbesola, Lai Mohammed, Sadiyya, Adamu,Ramatu test negative

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    THERE was a sigh of relief on Thursday in Abuja   as most members of   President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet tested negative to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

    The positive status of the Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, who is the coordinator of government activities created panic in government circles of a likely high-rate of infection of the cabinet members and governors.

    But it was a thing of joy in the early hours when the tests conducted on most of the ministers   were negative.

    Although some results were still being awaited as of press time on Thursday, some of those whose results were released  are  members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, including the Minister of Health,  Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who had gone into self-isolation ahead of the results.

    There were indications that some  members of the PTF might occasionally come out of isolation to attend to urgent issues on COVID-19.

    Those   given clean bill of health are:   Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha; Dr. Ehanire; Interior Minister  Rauf Aregbesola; Aviation Minister  Hadi Sirika; Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed and   Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Services Minister Sadiya Umar-Farouk.

    Others are Finance Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; her Minister of State Clem Agba;  Education Minister Adamu Adamu; Environment Minister Mohammed Mahmoud; Others are the Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello;  the Minster of State for Mines and Steel, Mr. Uche Ogah; and the Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Ramatu Aliyu.

    Other members of the SGF-led presidential taskforce on COVID whose tests turned out negative are the   Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), Mr. Yusuf Bichi; the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control; Dr.  Chikwe Ihekweazu; and  the World Health Organisation Country Representative, Wondimagegnehu Alemu.

    A top source said: “All members of the PTF tested negative to COVID-19. At least, we now know the status of those managing this crisis for us.”

    A minister, who spoke in confidence, said: “It was harrowing in the last 48 hours awaiting the results. I,  members of my family and my aides had been in suspense.

    “We were expected to receive the results on Wednesday but we were not notified until the early hours of Thursday.

    “It was traumatic but it was worth it at the end of the day. The fear is not about whether positive or negative but the stigmatisation.

    “The tension was more profound when we were given our results individually. No minister could ask his or her colleague the outcome of the test.”

    In a tweet, the Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Ramatu Aliyu, said: “I’m glad to inform all my family and friends, including the good people of the FCT at large that I have tested *negative* to COVID-19. I thank Almighty Allah for good health and his infinite grace in these trying times.

    “I want to implore you all to take all possible precautions not just for yourself but also for your loved ones. Please avoid getting panicked. As a nation, we shall come out of this stronger and better”.

    When our correspondent placed a call to another minister, he simply responded: “I am negative.”

    Responding to a question at a news briefing yesterday, the Minister of Information and Culture,   said, “Yes, I did the test and early this morning (Thursday), I got the result and it came out negative.

    “Every member of the Presidential Task Force(PTF) submitted himself or herself to the test. I am not at liberty to tell you the results of anyone

    “We were tested   at home. You can be tested within three to five minutes.”

    But Mohammed was put to task on why the ministers, who were negative, had not gone into isolation.

    He said:”Given the nature of the assignment before the PTF, we cannot abdicate our responsibility.

    “We have taken measures on how to go about our duty such as teleconferencing. We came out of self-isolation because we have a huge task at hand.

    “We will, as when necessary, come out of isolation, not because we have tested negative, but because we cannot abdicate our responsibility and just disappear.

    “We are going to adhere strictly to the regulations on hygiene, social distancing, and other preventive measures.”

    Mrs. Ahmed, who confirmed her status via  her twitter handle wrote,”Grateful for negative #COVID-19 test results.”

    She thanked her followers for their concern  and prayers and urged “all of us to practice social distancing, wash our hands and use sanitizers as frequently as possible to help put an end to this global pandemic.”

    Special Adviser to the finance minister, Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, also spoke on the negative status of Mrs. Ahmed and the Minister of State.

    “Test results for #Covid19 has returned negative for both our ministers @ZShamsuna @ClemAgba. The test was considered necessary after confirmed interactions with persons who tested positive,” Abdullahi wrote on the ministry’s Twitter handle.

    He stated that  Ahmed, who  was at the National Assembly on Wednesday, did not isolate herself.

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