First Bank Closes Branches In Bauchi Over COVID-19 Scare

  • State Govt confirms infection back deadlier, more devastating

  • Engages Clerics, Ulamas on sensitization campaigns


BY ADEYEMI AKANJI, BAUCHI – Anxiety over the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic breaking out in the country has forced the management of First Bank of Nigeria Plc to close two of its branches within Bauchi metropolis.

This follows suspected cases of COVID-19 infection reported in two of the first generation bank’s branches in the Bauchi state capital. The affected branches are: The main branch at Yakubun Bauchi Road and the Central Market branch.

Equally, the Bauchi State Government has warned that results of tests so far conducted has proved that the second wave of the novel COVID-19 pandemic has hit the North East state in full force with deadlier and more devastating effects.

Forefront reliably learnt that as anxiety gathered momentum within the two branches, the management hurriedly sent signals shutting down their operations as part of measures to check possible spread of the virus infection among the bank’s personnel

A visit to the affected branches of First Bank on Tuesday morning revealed that both had their gates locked as anxious customers were turned back by the security personnel.

This sudden development is already putting most of the bank’s customers in serious dilemma and untold hardship considering that most of them were at the branches to carry out last minute transactions before the Christmas holiday.

At the main branch, the security personnel at the gate simply informed disappointed and desperate customers to return home and await further information from the management.

Information gathered by Forefront correspondent revealed that on Monday, October 21, one of the bank’s staff, who had displayed symptoms of COVID-19 infection, was immediately evacuated to the testing centre and thereafter moved to the isolation camp.

Meanwhile, the Bauchi State government has warned against breaches of COVID-19 protocols by members of the public, saying; “We have positive results that have been turned in, indicating that the pandemic is back with force and now deadlier.”

Briefing newsmen at the Government House, State Deputy Governor, Senator Baba Tela cautioned that people must stay safe by imbibing the culture of non-pharmatheutical protocols, including wearing of face masks; washing hands with clean water; and use of sanitizers; as well as social/physical distancing.

Senator Tela, who is also the Chairman of COVID-19 and Lassa Fever Task Force Committee in the State, said; “Clinical reports have indicated that the new wave of the pandemic is unlike the first one, this one is not as symptomatic, it just come and do the harm. We therefore have to be very careful to avoid the pandemic.”

The Deputy Governor said though the government is doing its best to make the state safe for all, people must play their parts by complying with the safety measures already put in place by the health authorities.

According to him, the State government will engage the clergies and Ulamas in sensitising the people, particularly during religious gatherings and ensuring the safety protocols are strictly observed.

The Taskforce Chairman also said the traditional institutions in the state will be contacted on the need to support government efforts through awareness campaigns and sensitization of their subjects given the royal fathers’ closeness to the people.

On the vaccine developed and approved to treat the pandemic globally, Senator Tela admitted that it would certainly take some time before it gets to Nigeria and Bauchi state, adding; “So for now, we have to take precautions and protect ourselves from the pandemic.”

For now, available COVID-19 reports on Bauchi from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) indicate that the State has so far recorded 904 laboratory confirmed cases since the pandemic broke out in the country.

Also, current active cases on admission are put at 112 while the figure of those already discharged stands at 796 with 14 deaths so far recorded in the State.

Records obtained by Forefront indicate that as at Tuesday, December 22, 2020, the fresh initial samples are 180 for the second wave of the pandemic, bringing the total initial samples tested to 9874 since the outbreak.

The State also has a pending result (initial) of 453; One new follow up; one follow up that is negative with 12 new contacts; and total contacts (under follow up) put at 31 cases.

Bauchi State Deputy Governor and Chairman, Taskforce Committee on COVID-19, Sen Baba Tela 

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