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How NCDC Officials Didn’t Want To Evacuate Corpse Of Suspected COVID-19 Death In Ibadan

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‘Fisayo Soyombo, multiple award winning investigative journalist, has revealed how officials of the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, were reluctant to leave with a corpse of a suspected coronavirus victim.

Soyombo who was giving his daily #FisayosCovid19Series on his Facebook account said it took the intervention of the deceased’s neighbour before they could take the corpse away.

Three days ago, an almost 60-year-old man died of SUSPECTED COVID-19 symptoms in Monatan, Ibadan. When neighbours called @NCDCgov officials, they didn’t want to come. And when they  did, they didn’t want to leave with the corpse. They only did after more than an hour of three-way arguments.

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Before that Wednesday, the deceased had been having “a headache and slight malaria” for days. But from Tuesday, whenever he tried to cough, he experienced enormous pain in the chest.

By Tuesday evening, the coughs started to be accompanied by blood. Very late in the , just before 12am on Wednesday, he was coughing and vomiting blood. He would subsequently knock on his brother’s door, rush to the bathroom and ask him to repeatedly pour water on his head as he continued coughing and simultaneously spitting blood. A little after 12am, one neighbour volunteered to take him to the hospital but before he could retrieve gloves and a face mask, the man had died.

At the break of dawn, neighbours called the NCDC — because they didn’t think it was a normal death. NCDC officials came around 1pm — several hours after the calls — arriving in an ambulance bearing three people and a Hilux van containing four people. The officials themselves admitted they didn’t want to come; they’d only shown up reluctantly. They took samples from corpse, which was still lying outside, and decontaminated the environment. Then they made to leave.

Now, the contentious matter: the residents wanted the NCDC officials to evacuate the corpse but they said they wouldn’t. They said they couldn’t use the ambulance because it was for someone who was alive — not a corpse. They also said they couldn’t use the Hilux. There was an argument — first between them and the residents, and then between the officials in the ambulance and the ones in the Hilux.

As the arguments raged, the officials in the ambulance left angrily. After more than an hour of arguments during which neighbours insisted the corpse couldn’t be left behind, the remaining officials agreed to evacuate the deceased with the Hilux.

But what if the deceased was indeed COVID-19-positive and what if neighbours hadn’t stubbornly insisted the corpse couldn’t be left behind?

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