Twenty students writing the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) being conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) have tested positive for COVID-19 in Bayelsa State.
This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health Dr. Inodu Apoku during a meeting of COVID-19 Task Force at Government House, Yenagoa.
Apoku said the 20 positive cases were among 600 candidates writing the examinations in the state that were screened.
Speaking to the WAEC Head of National Office in Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Areghan, called on candidates infected with the COVID-19 writing the examinations not to panic, saying “the virus is not a death sentence”.
Areghan, said this on Wednesday, August 26 at the end of a monitoring visit to the Federal Government Boys College, Apo, Abuja. He also assured that no student infected with COVID-19 would miss the examinations.
“I want to assure you and the Nigerians that anywhere we have COVID-19 candidate, we make sure that he or she writes the examinations. It is not a death sentence, there is no stigma.
“We don’t want anybody to miss the exams. It’s no fault of theirs. We can defeat this disease provided we take first-line responsibility,” he said.
Areghan said such a candidate would write the examinations in the isolation centre.
He added that the council would thereafter go to the isolation centre and collect the script, which would be put in a special bank designated for the purpose.
“Yesterday, we heard stories about some candidates contracting the disease in one state. We quickly got in touch with our officer and he said he was not aware.
“We ask him to get in touch with the commission and the commission said there was nothing like that.
“Yes we are aware that in Gombe, there was one candidate who wrote the examinations for about two days or so and I learnt that the candidate had been discharged from the isolation centre,” he said.
According to him, the council also heard about one in Kwara and in Bayelsa. They also carried out massive testing before the commencement of the examination.
“The results have just come out and that the candidates infected have been isolated and we are conducting the examination for them.
This is coming barely three days after the Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, announced that a student writing the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examinations examination in the state had tested positive for COVID-19,also 7 students writing the ongoing WASSCE in Government Girls’ College, Doma, Gombe State, tested positive for COVID-19.