About 20 Generals have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, about one week after the death of the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Maj. Gen. John Irefin, who died of complications from the disease. The infected military officers were believed to have had contact with the deceased during the Chief of Army Staff’s annual conference 2020, in Abuja, last week. The conference was cancelled following Irefin’s passage and the participants, including the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi; and GOCs from nearly all the army divisions nationwide, were directed to go on self-isolation. Following the development, the COAS did not attend the wedding of his son in Abuja on Friday. The PUNCH gathered on Sunday that some of the infected GOCs and principal officers were being treated at the COVID-19 isolation centre, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja. Some of the patients were also being quarantined at other isolation centres in the Federal Capital Territory. The development, it was learnt, has sparked panic among top military brass who had yet to take the COVID-19 test. A source said, “The report is true; I know about four generals who returned positive and are being treated for the disease.”
The Nigerian Army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Sagir Musa, could not be reached for comment as he did not respond to calls. He had yet to react to a WhatsApp message as of the time of filing this report.
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