Insists on strict enforcement of regulations spelt out in gazette for political activities.
The Edo State Government has announced two new deaths resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19) complications and the discharge of 16 more patients, who have tested negative to the virus and cleared from the state’s isolation centres. The state also recorded 28 new cases of the virus with 13 confirmed at the Irrua Specialist Hospital (ISTH) laboratory and 15 at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) laboratory.
With the new figures, Edo has now recorded a total of 27 COVID-19 related deaths, 130 discharged persons, 1,741 line-listed contacts, 4,217 suspected cases and 518 confirmed cases.
The state governor, Godwin Obaseki, who disclosed this in a statement on Saturday, reassured that the state government would continue to intensify efforts aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus and ensuring the health and safety of Edo people. Obaseki, however urged residents to be cautious and abide by all health and safety precautions to protect all citizens, especially the elderly, noting that the aged are the most endangered by the pandemic.
The governor said, “We have discharged 16 more COVID-19 patients from our isolation facilities. This brings the total number of recoveries in the state to 130. We call on all residents to abide by health and safety precautions to protect our elderly who are most endangered this period. Stay safe”.
Worried by the fatal impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the aged population in the state, governor urged residents to abide by all health and safety precautions to check the spread of the virus in order to protect the elderly, noting that the aged accounts for over 50 percent of deaths recorded so far. He charged citizens to intensify protective measures such as wearing of face masks, hand-washing and practicing physical distancing to protect the aged who make up only five per cent of the state’s population.
He stated that “Following consultations with Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and religious bodies, we will commence a reopening of places of worship. We are expanding screening and testing to religious groups/organizations and business establishments. We call on all religious organisations, corporate bodies, and health facilities to assist us drive modalities for our new norm and cooperate with the designated health and security agencies in this regard.”
According to Obaseki, “Data clearly shows that there is now a large-scale community spread with the elderly persons being the most affected. Even though persons aged 60 years and above make up five percent of our population, over 50 percent of deaths recorded affect this category of people. This shows that the coronavirus disease has a more fatal impact on them resulting in death.
“As a government, we are very concerned about this exposure of our elderly population to this disease and so we have resolved that these vulnerable persons must be protected. Their lives matter. We must now intensify protective measures such as wearing face masks, hand-washing and practicing physical distancing. We cannot afford to act irresponsibly, so we must take this preventive action very seriously.”
Obaseki expressed displeasure that although the state has comfortable facilities that can care for up to 500 people, some persons are refusing to isolate and receive treatment in these facilities, adding, “When you isolate at home, there is a higher likelihood that other people will be infected especially our elderly parents and grand-parents further perpetuating community transmissions and spread with grave public health implications. We frown against this selfish behavior, and henceforth, we will be publishing a list of persons who refuse to isolate in our isolation and treatment centres.”
In view of the up-coming election in the state and to reduce infection transmission rates during political gatherings, Obaseki insisted on strict enforcement of regulations spelt out in the state’s gazette issued by the government to curtail the spread of the virus and protect Edo people. He further noted, “Schools remain closed, however, guidelines for phased reopening are being developed together with the Federal Ministry of Education especially for students in JSS 3 and SS 3 who are preparing for their exit examinations. I encourage all Edo parents and guardians of pupils in primary schools, to continue to utilize our e-learning platforms for their educational needs, while they are still at home.
“We will continue phased relocations and reopening of our markets. We strongly appeal to traders and market union leadership to strictly comply and enforce government directives on social distancing measures for their own health and wellbeing”
Meanwhile, Commissioner for Health, Patrick Okundia, noted that the Obaseki-led state government had undertaken serious measures to contain the pandemic, adding that the state’s surveillance pillar had revved up efforts at contact tracing, line-listing and monitoring of contacts of the confirmed cases across all Local Government Areas of Edo.
The commissioner stated, “While the government steps up efforts at containing the pandemic, we urge you to comply with all government directives aimed at ensuring the health and safety of all residents. Stay at home and observe social distancing and other precautionary measures against the spread of the disease, including regular hand-washing with soap under running water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitisers. Cover your mouth and nose properly when sneezing and/or coughing. Also do well to report anyone with oversea travel history.”