Plateau investigates leak in COVID-19 results

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From Bala TANKO, Jos

The Plateau government is investigating the circumstances surrounding the leak of the confidential laboratory result of some suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) cases carried out at the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) Testing Centre in Vom.

The Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dan Manjang, stated this in a press release issued on Sunday in Jos.

Newsmen report that on Thursday, the result of a suspected person with COVID-19, which tested positive, was circulating in different platforms of social media.

This went on before the official announcement by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Plateau government.

READ ALSO: BUK to establish coronavirus test centre — Vice-Chancellor

The patient, who is the state’s index case, came into Jos from Kano on 17 April.

The commissioner said the government was disappointed over such unprofessional act, which had breached ethical medical standards and exposed the suspected case to negative consequences, including stigmatization and discrimination.

He said the state government totally condemned the act, which “regrettably has the tendency of jeopardising” its efforts in fighting the coronavirus pandemic that is ravaging the world.

Mr Manjang said that the state was conducting investigations to unravel those responsible for the unethical act with a view of punishing them to forestall future occurrence.

He said the investigation would cover the entire process of the test, from sample collection, investigation and result dissemination.

The commissioner assured members of the public not to be deterred by the incident as all measures had been taken to ensure that such an incident did not occur again.

Meanwhile, the acting Director of NVRI, Rueben Ocholi, has reacted to the development in a statement issued on NVRI website on Saturday, 25 April.

Mr Ocholi stated that the institute was highly professional and had consistently provided high-quality diagnostic and research data for many years without a case of breach of ethics.

He explained that NVRI adhered to the established system of communication of Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic results developed by the (NCDC).

Mr Ocholi, however, called on all stakeholders involved in managing COVID-19 case information for Plateau State to quickly investigate the breach.

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