The Akwa Ibom State Government has discontinued its free treatment for COVID-19 patients in the state.
The state governor, Udom Emmanuel disclosed this on May 14 during an interview programme in Uyo.
“No more free lunch,” Mr Emmanuel said in the programme broadcast live via radio and television stations, including Facebook.
Mr Emmanuel said his administration could not continue “indefinitely” to offer free COVID-19 treatment because of the huge financial cost on the state government.
“Whatever has a beginning must also have an end. We may not continue with that level of treatment. It cost us a whole lot of money to treat one patient who is COVID-19 positive,” he said.
“Over a year, we have been treating COVID patients free, without charging them even one naira.
“You could see that in other places, once you fall under the positive outcome of the test, a lot of them take care of themselves, take care of their expenses and so on. We had to show Akwa Ibomites how we respond to issues like this and how much we love them.”
The governor urged residents of the state to go out and get vaccinated and also advised them to follow COVID-19 protocol.
“Please let us not lose sight, let us still be so much on alert. It is just by the grace of God that we are where we are today. Please still follow the COVID-19 protocol.
ALSO READ: Health experts, others discuss COVID-19 treatment, response
“We believe people will not lay down their guards so that this would not ravage us again.
“Our prayer is that let the new variant not reach us as a country. I don’t think we can handle it, judging from what we have seen in other places of the world,” he said.
Akwa Ibom as of May 16 has recorded 1,893 cases of COVID-19 infection and 14 related deaths, according to the data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
Out of that number, 1,853 people have been treated and discharged from the hospitals.
There are only 26 people currently on admission for the viral infection.