EXCLUSIVE: “I’m a Model, not a Prostitute” -Rivers Covid 19 Index Case Cries Out
Rivers State has one confirmed case of the novel Coronavirus. In recent days, there have been several rumours about the index case. Nigeria Info’s Enoh Ogbeviro spoke EXCLUSIVELY to the model who chronicles her journey, how she got the virus and life at the isolation centre.
Nigeria Info: You left Nigeria when exactly?
Rivers Index Case: I left Nigeria on 13th of January to Paris for the Fashion week, I stayed there for like 3 weeks before I went to Milan for Milan Fashion week.
Nigeria Info: So it was a working trip for you?
Rivers Index Case: Yes.
Nigeria Info: Asides work, what else did you toy while on your trip?
Rivers Index Case: All I did was work because it was my first time abroad and I didn’t like the weather. It was really cold. When we got there, every day you were assigned a schedule. You can get up to 10 casting in a day. You have to try to meet up with the casting. I heard of the virus in January so I was very careful. So when I finish i just come back home.
Nigeria Info: How long did you spend abroad?
Rivers Index Case: 2months. I left in January 13 and returned March 16th.
Nigeria Info: So when you returned which airport did you enter?
Rivers Index Case: I used Port Harcourt international Airport. My father and other siblings came to pick me up. Before I got there my boss
Nigeria Info: When you got off the plane were you screened?
Rivers Index Case: Yes. They gave me a paper where you have to write down how you feel. If you have symptoms and they check your temperature.
Nigeria Info: When you got home were you feeling tired?
Rivers Index Case: I was feeling normal because my mom was scared. She said they shouldn’t have brought me home (and that) I should have gone to the hospital. There are no places here where they can conduct a test but I told them if they wanted to test me I was ok because I didn’t have any symptoms.
Nigeria Info: At what point did the need for that happen?
Rivers Index Case: My friend, also a model, called me after two days and told me one of her roommates was confirmed positive for the virus. So she was like we should go for a test because the girl was also asymptomatic. I went to the hospital close to my house they said they do not do the test. So the next day I went to UPTH. When Igot there the security said they don’t do the test and I left. My friend called again and sent me the number of Rivers State Ministry of Health. So, I told them what happened and they said they will come the next day. When they came, I thought they were going to test me but they didn’t not instead I was given thermometer and hand sanitizer and said they will check me for possible symptoms. I said I stay in a family house, we are more than 5 in that house. I’m supposed to be tested but they said no, they will keep checking me and that’s all. Few days later I started having sore throat.
Nigeria Info: when you started having sore throat were you scared?
Rivers Index Case: I thought it was normal because I’ve had sore throat before. So I called my boss and told him what happened. I’ve only met him twice, the day he came to pick me up and the day he visited. He was really scared of getting close to me. So when they refuse to get me tested, my boss was really mad and insisted I be tested. He got a contact of a WHO worker. I called the next day and that was when I began to cough and sneeze mildly. I was always with my hand sanitizer and I kept telling my siblings to stay away from me.
The WHO woman said they were going to come test me the next day. They came to my house and I was tested. Said they will get back to me after 48 hours but they got to me way past 48 hours. She called me and said I tested positive and was coming to pick me up.
Nigeria Info: How did they carry out the test?
Rivers Index Case: They put something under the tongue and two sides of the mouth. Did the same to the nose, it was quite uncomfortable.
Nigeria Info: So when they took the sample did they tell you any precautionary measures?
Rivers Index Case: No I don’t remember anything like that.
Nigeria Info: What was going through your mind while waiting for your result?
Rivers Index Case: I was really scared. While growing up, I used to have serious cough. I did and X-ray for my chest growing up and people thought I had tuberculosis as a child.
A friend offered to buy me face mask but I said no, I am fine. I didn’t want her to come because I was staying alone in the living room. It was really scary because I stay in the family house.
Nigeria Info: So they broke the news to you over the phone?
Rivers Index Case: The female Doctor called and said I was positive and they were going to come pick me up just like that. They came and picked me up that same day.
Nigeria Info: Were you told to take any item when they pick you?
Rivers Index Case: When she called, she said I’m not permitted to bring anything, they have everything I need. But when the other doctor came, he said I can bring anything so I came with my wrapper, towel and some clothes. When I came, I realized they had things for me. Provisions like toothbrush, towels every other things.
Nigeria Info: What is the place like?
Rivers Index Case: It’s a single room with a bath area.
Nigeria Info: What about feeding?
Rivers Index Case: They pass food every day. They are always in coverall, mask and all so I don’t know what they look like. They just come in introduce themselves every day and bring the food, check my temperature and all.
Nigeria Info: When were you quarantined?
Rivers Index Case: I came here 3 days ago on Thursday (26th March)
Nigeria Info: What did they tell you before they took you to the isolation centre?
Rivers Index Case: They will look after my people and they have to be inside the house throughout the 14 days. I should be comfortable and don’t have to worry and be scared of anything. I said OK.
Nigeria Info: Do you know if your family members have been tested?
Rivers Index Case: Yes. The test result is not out yet but they carried out the test on everyone I came on contact with.
Nigeria Info: How do you have access to you phone?
Rivers Index Case: They gave me the phone because the T.V isn’t working, it shows only one channel.
Nigeria Info: What goes through your mind while there?
Rivers Index Case: The first day I came my phone was off but the second day I came online and I saw so many things about me. People saying things not true so I’ve been disturbed. I’ve not been myself, I really wanted to make this call and say the truth. I’m not a prostitute, I’m a model who travelled the country for modelling. They can go check out my pictures.
Nigeria Info: What did you read or heard that bothers you?
Rivers Index Case: Someone sent me something on WhatsApp saying the 19 year old model for the virus from a Senator. I don’t know which Senator because I don’t know any Senator in Nigeria. So they should come with their proof because I have no idea who the senator is. Someone else said I came in contact with a PH artist. This is my first time travelling outside the country. People should stop saying ill about me. I’m a model and a simple person.
Nigeria Info: You’re anonymous so why are you bothered?
Rivers Index Case: I’m bothered because people know where I stay and they are saying things about my family right now. I just want people to stop saying lies about me, my family, my friends and what I do.
Nigeria Info: I thought you’re in quarantine, how did everyone get to know you?
Rivers Index Case: When the Governor made the speech I received on WhatsApp, he described me in a way and people who know me in my area and knew I travelled know that I left the day they came to pick me up, the way they dressed and the ambulance there was a lot of drama.
Nigeria Info: Asides cough and sore throat, how else did you feel internally?
Rivers Index Case: I didn’t have any fever, shortness of breath or any seizures. I just had cough, sneezing, sore throat and recently lost my appetite.
Nigeria Info: Anything you will like to say to people who don’t believe this virus is real?
Rivers Index Case: My Father didn’t believe it is real until now. Religion will not cure the virus. Practice good hygiene, the virus is real and can affect any and every one. Go with you sanitizer and keep distance from people eat right and keep your houses clean.
Nigeria Info: I look forward to seeing you when you recover in Nigeria Info studio. Thank you very much for talking to us, we appreciate your time