The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has commended Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers for his firm leadership against the spread of Novel Coronavirus in the State. This was made known in a statement on Sunday in Port Harcourt by Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu, the governor’s Special Assistant, Electronic Media. It stated that Ihekweazu made the commendation during a meeting between Wike and officials of NCDC at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Sunday. According to the statement, Ihekweazu described Rivers as an important State in the fight to stop the spread of the virus. It stated: "This is a working visit. I want to thank you for your firm, strong, committed and personally led response to COVID-19 in Rivers State.Rivers is one of the most important gate-ways into the country; one of the most important economies in the country. So, Rivers is important, not only to you but to the entire country. "We thank you very much for your leadership and we need your leadership to continue in order for us to continue doing our work nationally.’’ Ihekweazu said that his team came to Rivers to engage with the State Public Health Team to consolidate on the successes on the fight against Coronavirus. "This is actually a joint team. I have come with the Officer in charge of World Health Organisation. We have come together to offer our support. Your Excellency, you have an excellent public health team to which I have an excellent working relationship with. We have a close technical working relationship.The purpose of this visit is to engage with the team and understand their challenges and continue driving that close coordination,"he said. The NCDC’s director-general noted that because of the unique nature of the virus, all stakeholders must work in Unity. He said: "The unique nature of this virus is that it is a global pandemic. None of us can do this on our own. No country can do this on its own.We share information across the states to make sure that everyone is informed as they can possibly be. We share Information on new developments, strategies, what works and what doesn't work. "Whether it is in detection, prevention and treatment, our role as NCDC is to make sure that our technical colleagues are able to respond at all levels and are supported in any way with the expertise they need.’" He said that since prolonged lockdown could not be indefinite, stakeholders must begin to work towards gradually reopening the economy without endangering the population. He also urged the private sector to focus more on helping the states to build their capacity to respond to the virus. Responding on behalf Rivers government, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike, said that Gov. Wike had strengthened the Public Health System to fight Coronavirus. He said before COVED-19 pandemic, the state government had been battling Lassa fever, Monkey Pox and HIV/AIDS. He said that due to the proactive leadership of the governor, the state had no current confirmed case of Coronavirus, adding that the two cases in Rivers had been treated and discharged. "Since January, Rivers State has had two cases of Coronavirus - a 19-year old Model and a 62-year old retiree. They have been treated and discharged. All the 214 persons that had contact with them were placed under surveillance. Except for two cases, all other contacts have exited isolation. "We give kudos to our Governor for his proactive approach at tackling Coronavirus. It has been successful.The Rivers State Executive Council set up a sensitisation committee to sensitise and inform the people on ways to prevent the spread of Coronavirus," Chike said. The state government also requested for the establishment of a functional Federal Laboratory to handle Coronavirus testing. The state government told the NCDC team that although it was in the process of setting its major laboratory, the strategic place of Rivers as the nation's oil and gas hub, required a federal testing centre. Meanwhile, the state government on Sunday also announced the release of 22 Exxon Mobil staff detained for alleged violation of the State’s Executive Order on COVID-19. Rivers Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Prof. Zaccheus Adangor, who made this known on Sunday in Port Harcourt, said that the oil workers were released without charges. The Attorney-General said that the State Government would no longer press charges against the workers, disclosed that they were released following interventions by well-meaning Nigerians. Adangor said that he monitored the release of the 22 Exxon Mobil at the State Isolation Centre at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt. He noted that the Rivers government was committed to implementing the Executive Order issued to check the spread of Coronavirus. It will be recalled that security agencies arrested 22 staff of Exxon Mobil who entered the State from Akwa Ibom in violation of the State Executive Order. The order stipulates that Health Authorities ascertain the Coronavirus status of those entering the state.