The Governor tested positive for the COVID-19 disease and has since gone into isolation.
It was reports that John Okiyi Kalu, Commissioner for Information in the State, had confirmed this in a statement to news men on Monday.
However, in a press release issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, and made available to newsmen in Umuahia, on Monday morning, Ikpeazu said that his decision to present himself for a second test was to remove all doubts about his status, after testing negative initially.
Ikpeazu stated, “As your Governor, I have a responsibility to do what is right and keep our people fully updated about my health status”.
Governor Ikpeazu further restated his stance that testing positive for the virus was not a death sentence and appealed to the people of the State not to panic but continue to take issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic with all seriousness and take all necessary precautions in line with the protocols enunciated by the NCDC.
According to the release, “The Governor who has already commenced self-isolation under the careful watch of experienced medical personnel directed that the Deputy Governor, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu shall hold the forte in his absence”.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Abia State Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 and Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barrister Chris Ezem, Sunday, expressed his displeasure over the flagrant flouting of COVID-19 protocols by churches in Umuahia.
Some of the churches visited along Ikot Ekpene Road, Ihie Ndume in Umuahia North failed to observe the rules, including Streams of Joy and Salvation Ministries.
While reprimanding Pastors of the concerned churches and their members over the development, Barrister Ezem warned that any church that continues to flout the State Government’s guidelines of 50 worshipers per stream of service stands the risk of being sealed up.
He added that, “COVID-19 has entered community infection stage. We keep emphasizing on this everyday but it looks like the churches are taking it as a joke. It is not! COVID-19 is not written on anyone’s face; it is not malaria nor is it measles whose symptoms are clearly visible. One can contract the virus by coming to church and not following the guidelines of the government”.
Ezem who emphasized that the ban on children attending church worships and other gatherings remains in place as they are particularly vulnerable to Coronavirus infection also commended the leadership and parishioners of the Anglican Communion (Church of the Good Shepherd), Ehimiri, Umuahia, for their high level of compliance with the State Government’s COVID-19 protocols.
He reminded them that the same reasons State Government was yet to open schools should guide them to stop holding services for children until further notice.