Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State on Friday announced that the curfew earlier imposed in the state will now begin from 10 pm to 5 am to check rising cases of COVID-19.
Naija News reports that Obaseki rolled out several measures to halt the spread of the virus in the state during a press conference in Government House, Benin City.
Those in attendance at the conference include the Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu; Edo State Coordinator, World Health Organisation (WHO), Mrs. Faith Ireye; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Osamwonyi Irowa; the Edo State COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr. Andrew Obi, among others.
In a statement sent to Naija News on Friday, the Special Adviser to the governor on Media, Crusoe Osagie, revealed that Obaseki also announced the suspension of schools’ resumption.
According to the governor, the state government has built a robust response mechanism while dealing with the first wave of the coronavirus, but that data from comparison between the first and the second wave of the pandemic showed that there was need to take drastic measures so as to limit the spread of the new wave of the virus.
Obaseki said: “Comparing the first six weeks of the pandemic from March 23, 2020 with the first six weeks since December 1, 2020, Edo State has witnessed an 84.5 percent rise in the number of infected persons.
“There has also been a 10.5 percent increase in the number of older persons infected with Covid-19. It is early days yet, but we have evidence suggesting that more older persons infected with COVID-19 are dying.
“Most of the cases in the early phase of the pandemic were travel-related but since December 2020, there has been a 13.9 percent increase in community transmission of the disease. This is a big concern especially with the evidence before us that there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of persons infected with COVID-19 who show no signs or symptoms of the disease, but are transmitting it in our communities. Our children and youth are major contributors to this group.”
On the new directives to halt the spread of the virus, he said the general recommendations are that individuals, groups and organizations must take responsibility to avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close contact.
“Curfew is now reviewed from 10 pm to 5 am effective Saturday 16th January, 2021,” he added.
On schools resumption
Obaseki said schools are to remain shut till February 1, 2021, when the prevailing realities are to be reviewed to determine if it would be safe to reopen the schools.
The governor also stressed that sanctions and incentive shall be used to drive better compliance using enforcement and monitoring teams across the state, urging government-owned organizations to model best practices.
On religious gatherings
He said, “Handwashing stations with running water and liquid soap/alcohol-based hand sanitizers must be provided at entry and exit points. There must be temperature checks at entrance points and facemasks must be used correctly and consistently.
“Sitting in gatherings should not exceed a maximum of 30% of capacity per session and ensure physical distancing (at least 1.5m) must be adhered to. The length of meetings should not exceed 1 hour and there must be breaks in-between sessions for decontamination. Children below 12 years and adults above 60 years should stay at home.”
For the transportation sector
Obaseki insisted that there must be compulsory, consistent and proper use of face masks by riders, drivers and passengers, adding “Monitoring/Enforcement team must be set up. Stop and check teams are to be set up to track and sanction motorbikes, tricycles, cars, buses for non-compliance with facemask use.”
He added that there must be strict observation of ‘no facemask, no entry’ policy in hotels, lounges, bars, restaurants while insisting on no eat-ins in restaurants.
“These facilities must provide hand washing stations with running water and liquid soap and reduce numbers of chairs in bars, lounges and others and maintain physical distancing. All public swimming pools must be closed or pool party events banned,” the governor added.