Ekiti shut down schools, bans social gathering over COVID-19 Pandemic
As part of measures to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus otherwise called COVID-19 in Ekiti State, the Governor of the State, Dr Kayode Fayemi has directed that all schools in the state be shut down until further notice.
He also announced the prohibition of gathering of more than 20 persons in either in places of worship, social clubs, political gathering, joints and night clubs in the State with immediate effect.
The Governor gave the directives in a state-wide broadcast on Friday, where he addressed the citizens on the incidence of reported case of COVID-19 in the State and measures being put in place to contain its spread.
Dr Fayemi who was optimistic that the virus would be contained, also encouraged non-essentials workers in both private and public sectors to work from home starting from Monday with exception of senior civil and public servants on grade levels 13 and above, health workers, caregivers, social welfare officers, fire service officers, emergency response officers, security guards in public institutions and those on other essential duties.
The Governor also directed that commercial drivers must ensure only one person sits in the front seat with the driver and not more than three passengers on a row in the backseat, while Okadas must carry only one person each to minimize close contacts as much as possible.
He further instructed that all public places must provide hand washing implements at the entrance and exit of their facility, adding that “a running tap with a safe drainage or Veronica bucket with running water and liquid soaps or hand sanitizers must be made available at motor parks, eateries, banks, shops, offices and places with significant human traffic to encourage frequent hand washing.”
The Governor urged market men and women to practise hand washing under running water with liquid soap at least six times a day in their stalls. This, according to him would minimize the transfer of virus picked up in the process of buying and selling.
Governor Fayemi, who said the state would do everything humanly possible to ensure the virus was contained, appealed to the public to shun unnecessary travels in and out of the State in order to minimize importing and exporting of the virus.
He said the resolve of the state to effectively combat the spread of the virus led to the establishment of a 40-man Taskforce under his chairmanship, earlier in the month.
While expressing appreciation to medical practitioners for being alive to their responsibilities, Dr Fayemi stressed the need for residents to continue to take self-preventive measures by washing their hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizers; covering their mouth with disposable tissue or into their curved elbow when coughing or sneezing.
He added that it is also important to observe social distancing by avoiding crowded gatherings as well as alert the authorities of any suspected case by calling the 112 Emergency Number or 09062970434, 09062970435, 09062970436.
The Governor disclosed that, the State Contact team has been able to established 42 direct and indirect contacts of the imported Ekiti index case and “none of the contacts showed any symptoms and are all being observed under self-isolation. In the next 14 days, their samples will be collected and sent to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for testing and we will update the public on the results on any further developments as we receive them”.
Speaking further on plans of the state government to combat the deadly virus, Fayemi said, “From Monday 23rd March, 2020, the Ekiti Taskforce will give regular updates at 2:00 pm every 48 hours at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Ministry of Health and Human Services, State Secretariat to keep the public informed of new developments and the actions we are taking to make Ekiti State safe and COVID-19 free.
He said further: “COVID-19 is most deadly because of its ability to pass silently from one infected person to others through virus-laden droplets of bodily fluids for up to 21 days, before showing any symptom. It has been proven that one infected person can transfer the virus to up to four hundred and six (406) people within 30 days and to one hundred and sixty four thousand (164,836) people in 60 days! That is why it must be contained, and urgently too!
“Now that we are aware of its presence in our midst, we must leave no stone unturned to make Ekiti State COVID-19 free. We must combat and curtail its spread by ensuring our people are actively involved in government’s efforts to fight this global pandemic. While the world frantically search for a cure, our best and only defence is prevention.
Therefore, to prevent its capacity for exponential transfer in Ekiti State, we must enforce all preventive measures as advised by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), especially social distancing and hand washing in an aggressive and well-coordinated manner.”
“While these measures may appear excessive, we cannot afford the spread of a debilitating virus like COVID-19 in Ekiti State. Apart from its alarming mortality rate, especially on senior citizens who constitute a significant part of our demography in Ekiti State, its capacity to destroy the economy of a community is very lethal. As someone has said, “the risk of doing too little is unimaginable, while the risk of doing too much, in this circumstance, is completely irrelevant.” It is thus safer to act excessively in abundance of caution, than to act inadequately and live with scary consequences”, he added.