Palpable tension enveloped the Akoko communities of Ondo State, on Tuesday, following an alarm raised over the death of a suspected patient of COVID-19 in Ipe Akoko, Akoko South-East Local Government Area of the state.

The suspected COVID-19 patient was said to have been admitted at the State Specialist Hospital Ikare Akoko for some days before he was transferred to the General Hospital, Oka Akoko and later moved to General Hospital, Ipe.

It was gathered that all the efforts of the family members of the suspected patient to get him tested for the coronavirus were not successful as the officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Owo allegedly claimed there were no logistics to visit the General Hospital in Ipe Akoko.

However, the patient gave up the ghost in the early hours of Tuesday, while the health workers at the hospital raised alarm over the death as they could not ascertain the health status of the deceased.

One of the health officials who confirmed the situation said: “Our government is not too serious about the war against this pandemic. There was a suspected COVID-19 case in our hospital in Ipe-Akoko who died about two hours after admission.

“The patient became unconscious with a fever of over 40-degree Celcius, cough with grunting respiration, 52cpm. We called NCDC (officials) in Owo (FMC) who promised to come to collect sample but told us later this morning that they can’t come again due to logistics.

“But the patient died this morning while the family keep mounting pressure on us to release the corpse to the relatives.

“We suspected that the relatives suspected that the patient might have contracted the virus as they all wore mask and gloves and we couldn’t ascertain the travel record of the patient.

“The patient was unconscious and left alone. He had a chronic cough and high temperature but we could not ascertain if its COVID -19. But when the NCDC decided not to come, we decide to release the corpse.”

When contacted, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahaab Adegbenro, confirmed the incident but said it was not a case of coronavirus as being rumoured.

Adegbenro said the deceased died of an entirely different health condition as a proper diagnosis was carried out on the patient by medical personnel while on admission in the hospital.

He enjoined the people of Ipe Akoko not to entertain unnecessarily fear over the development, saying the state government would not treat any coronavirus case with kid’s gloves.

The commissioner, however, disclosed that a patient who tested positive for COVID-19 at the FMC Owo has been transferred to the  Infectious Disease Hospital in Akure, adding that he is now receiving treatment.