Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Uniport News: No Facemask, No Entry Into UniPort Henceforth, Mgt Warns

…Charges COVID-19 Steering C’ttee On Pandemic Control

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Professor Regina Ogali, has charged the Steering Committee on the Coronavirus pandemic to redouble efforts aimed at keeping the University safe from the spread of COVID-19. Professor Ogali who currently oversees the affairs of the University in the absence of a substantive Vice Chancellor, directed that henceforth, all staff, students and visitors to the University must fully observe the COVID-19 protocols as approved by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Deputy Vice Chancellor gave the charge when she led other Principal Officers to debrief the COVID-19 Steering Committee members at the Governing Council Chambers, Senate Building, on Thursday, June 18, 2020. Other Principal Officers who attended the meeting were the Registrar, Mrs Dorcas Otto, Bursar, Dr Felicia Ayuwo and University Librarian, Dr Susan Umeozor.

“We called this meeting to receive progress report from the COVID-19 Steering Committee on its activities, especially now that the number of confirmed cases in Rivers State is becoming scary by the day. We need to take proactive steps to safeguard the health status of staff, residents and visitors to the University. We also need to plan ahead of possible resumption of academic activities, if and when we are so directed by the Federal Government,” Professor Ogali said.

“I am happy that equipment for our own COVID-19 Test Centre has started arriving in the University and we are hopeful that the Centre would be fully operational in the second week of July. I wish to charge the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Departments of Pure and Industrial Chemistry and Biochemistry to commence commercial production of hand sanitisers as their own contribution to the fight against COVID-19. 

It is important that we begin to think seriously about encouraging the Information and Communication Technology Centre and ODeL to work out modalities that would enable us to commence some form of online learning,” Professor Ogali said. She promised that Management would mount infrared thermometers at strategic locations, in addition to the hand sanitisers and running water that had already been provided at the entrance into most offices and faculty buildings.

Responding, Chairman of the Steering Committee and Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Professor Iyeopu Siminialayi and other members took turns to brief Principal Officers on the state of readiness of the Test and Isolation Centres in the University.

Professor Siminialayi disclosed that the increasing number of infected persons was indicative of the increased testing capacity in Rivers State. “Work on the Diagnostic Centre has reached an advanced stage, while facilities have started arriving. We hope that everything would be completed by this weekend to enable the technical people commence equipment installation. 

Also, renovation work to convert the International Students’ Centre to a temporary quarantine and isolation centre is ongoing,” the Provost told the gathering.

In his brief, a member of the Committee and infectious diseases expert, Dr Datonye Alasia, disclosed that about between 40 to 50 per cent of all those tested for COVID-19 turned out positive, describing the situation in Rivers State as dare. “It is regrettable that young people who are very mobile engage in risky behaviour and regrettably bring the deadly ailment home to their aged parents. 

We need to scale up access to care, but treatment centres are currently full in the State. The facility being installed in the University would meet NCDC specifications and reduce the pressure in existing facilities,” Dr Alasia said.

Another member of the Committee, Dr Omosivie Maduka, stressed the need for controlled decontamination that would follow diagnosis of confirmed cases, rather than indiscriminate spraying of the campus and other public places. 

She recommended 0.5 percent hydrochloride for decontamination and the need to train attendants on modalities for cleaning targeted environments. Others who attended the meeting included the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor Ogbonna Okorie, Director of the Regional Centre for Biotechnology and Bioresources Research (RCBBR), Professor Anthony Ataga, Director of Quality Assurance and Quality Control, Professor Ikechukwu Agbagwa, Director of Works and Services, Mr Moses Mmelusum, and Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, Mr Kingsley Wogwu.
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