By James Ogunnaike
ABEOKUTA – Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has charged residents of the state to comply with all precautionary measures put in place by government and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) aimed at flattening the curve of the coronavirus pandemic in the state, saying that this will ensure total ease of lockdown imposed on the state.
The governor, who said this on Friday while briefing newsmen on the update of COVID 19 in the state, Abeokuta, announced the extension of the lockdown in the state by another one week.
Abiodun said the one-week extension becomes inevitable owing to the fact that the level of compliance with the laid- down precautionary measures in the fight against COVID-19 across the state was yet to attain the desired level.
He said, despite the lockdown declared in the state, particularly the ban on interstate travels, coupled with the presidential order and curfew for non – essential services, a substantial number of people still “flagrantly” flouted all the measures put in place to curtail further spread of COVID-19.
“Many are still not complying with the precautionary measures and guidelines. In the last one week, the security agencies apprehended and charged before the Mobile Courts 224 violators of the lockdown and Presidential directive on curfew. Some motorists still carry more than the approved number of passengers whilst some people still move about in the public without use of the face masks”.
“We cannot ignore the fact that we are having a sudden rise in the number of new cases. This week’s increase of over 37 % is even more worrisome, particularly as we are still under an eased lockdown, and considering the demography and location of the confirmed cases, we can confirm that community transmission is on the increase in our state.
“For example, four people from Kotangora, Niger State, were intercepted right in front of the Governor’s Office here at Abeokuta on Monday this week. What is worrisome is how they managed to beat all the security barricades along the state borders and within the states that they passed through before getting into our dear state”.
“Whilst we are battling with internal migration, the immigrants from outside the country through our international land borders have also not given up, despite the closure of international borders. Nineteen (19) nationals from Togo and Ivory-Coast were intercepted after crossing into Ogun state, nay Nigeria through illegal land border routes on Wednesday 20th May 2020”.
“We are constrained to take the painful but necessary decision to continue the eased lockdown of Ogun State for another one week till Sunday, 31st, May 2020”.
Abiodun however, explained that all the migrants, including the Togolese and the Ivorians are currently being quarantined at Idi-Iroko border town, pending repatriation back to their countries.
“This is the new normal and we must accept it. It is the compliance that will help us to further ease the lockdown”.
“The low-level of compliance in the country also informed the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, with the approval of Mr. President, to extend the period of the current eased lockdown in the country for another two weeks that will lapse in a week’s time”.
On the state efforts to further fight the pandemic in the state, Abiodun said, “We are modifying our protocol in line with NCDC guidelines and will be accrediting some private health facilities in the management of COVID-19, in addition to some designated Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs)”.
“In this regard, we have embarked on the renovation and upgrade of the selected PHCs and have trained over 200 personnel drawn from the healthcare workers in our PHCs, Private Health Facilities, Community Development Associations, and Community leaders. These participants will, in the coming weeks, cascade the training to over 2,500 other participants”.
“We will provide support to the facilities by equipping them with COVID-19 Case Management skills. They will be the first responders in their localities and will be able to manage the asymptomatic positive cases, those with mild symptoms and positive individuals who may prefer care and treatment at the local PHC or accredited private health facility. These health facilities will be pre-positioned with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)”.
“The engagement of the CDA’s and community leaders is to ensure the ownership and buy-in of the various measures to curtail the spread of the virus in the community and help emphasise that compliance should be seen as a moral responsibility and civic duty. It is also hoped that through the buy-in of the community leaders, reports of the compliance with laid-down measures and suspected symptoms will be appropriately forwarded”.
“Our engagement also includes the business community. We will issue guidelines for their operations in the State to ensure a safe work environment for their personnel, in preparation for full business operations”.
“A key element of the guidelines will require industries with large personnel to carry out COVID-19 test on their staff to avoid community transmission”.