Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, on Monday flagged off the coronavirus (COVID-19) community surveillance and testing program in the State.
The process is aimed at breaking the chain of transmission and stem community spread of the disease.
Secretary to the State Government and chairman of the inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19, Barr Chris Ezem, who represented the Governor announced the development on Monday.
Ezem stated that the exercise which demands maximum support from the citizens should be taken seriously.
Speaking at the event in Umuahia South Local Government headquarters, Apumiri Ubakala, Ezem noted that Abia State is the first state in the South East to embark on such mass community testing against COVID-19.
He maintained that testing positive to the virus is not a death sentence as patients are being nursed back to health at the state’s isolation and treatment facilities.
He advised those who test negative to continue to adhere strictly to the COVID-19 protocols, which include: maintaining social/physical distance of a minimum 2 meters, use of nose mask, regular washing of hands under running water or use of hand sanitizers and avoiding crowded gatherings.
The State Chief Executive also warned that failure to observe the laid down rules will result in enforcing a total ban on social gatherings in the State.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji also said that the ministry had trained frontline contact and sample collectors in all the LGAs of the state with the aim of carrying out the massive sampling and testing of a target of 10,000 samples across the 17 LGAs in the state, an exercise which took off today the 20th of July, 2020.
The event was attended by many dignitaries in the State.