Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has banned religious services, weddings, parties, burial ceremonies and all forms of social gatherings in the state with a view to curtailing the spread of novel Coronavirus pandemic.
Making the announcement in a live broadcast to the people of the state on Monday night, he also made it known that the government has also postponed indefinitely its Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Summit, as well as the Agribusiness Summit. He had earlier ordered the closure of all public and private schools in the state last weekend.
“I am obligated to place a ban on gatherings such as religious services, weddings, parties, burial ceremonies and so on, gatherings should be limited to 30 persons or less. Nightclubs will have to remain closed. These measures will be reviewed in two weeks.
“I want to make it clear that I understand how this pandemic will affect us socially, economically and spiritually, but these are the sacrifices we need to make to preserve and protect our loved ones.
“Remember, some people among us can be asymptomatic. They can be carriers of the virus without showing any physical symptoms. This is why proper hygienic practices, social distancing and staying at home are very important.
“In times of anxiety, people want to come together physically and draw strength from the presence of others, but the advice on how to contain this virus is that we should do the exact opposite.”
Makinde noted that on Saturday March 21, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the state, adding that the new development “calls for stepping up, even further, the measures that our administration is taking to prevent, contain and control the spread of this illness.
“This is the time to come together as a people to fight a common enemy, COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus.Since the identification of the Ekiti case on the 18th of March, 2020, the Oyo State Government has ramped up its preparedness for any possible outbreak of the pandemic.
“We set up a COVID-19 Task Force, which I am heading. We have activated the Disease Surveillance and Notification System Officers in the 33 Local Government Areas and the 35 Local Council Development Areas.
“We are collaborating with the College of Medicine to set up two Diagnostic Centres at the University College Hospital, Ibadan which will begin operations by the end of the week. Both are awaiting the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s validation. We are also awaiting reagents for testing which have been ordered.
“We have also set up an additional isolation centre by redesignating the Maternal and Health Centre at Olodo as the Oyo State Infectious Disease Centre with a capacity for over 100 cases. Rehabilitation of the isolation centre is ongoing. As a result of the newly designated isolation centre at Olodo, we have now reduced the previous five isolation centres to three. They are:Ten-bed isolation centre at Jericho Chest Hospital, Ibadan; four-bed isolation centre at University College Hospital, Ibadan; and four-bed isolation centre at LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso.
“We have purchased and are presently refitting two dedicated ambulances for conveying critical cases to the isolation centres, while emergency personal protective gears have been provided for health workers with more already ordered.Also, the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) has been set up and is now operational with an Incidence Manager, Dr. Taiwo Ladipo of the Ministry of Health.
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“In addition, a five-member committee of experts has been approved to act as sub-committee for the EOC. We have provided numbers to call in case of emergencies.
“I have already directed that all public and private schools in Oyo State should be closed until after Easter. The ongoing workers’ verification exercise has been suspended. The Free Health Mission has also been suspended. All returning expatriate staffers in the state are presently in isolation and are being monitored.”