PRESS BRIEFING BY THE GOVERNOR OF OGUN STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY PRINCE DAPO ABIODUN MFR, ABOUT THE ACTIVITIES OF OGUN STATE GOVERNMENT TO CURB FURTHER SPREAD OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC, HELD ON FRIDAY, 22ND MAY, 2020
My dear people of Ogun State,
I am here to update you, once again, on the COVID-19 situation and our efforts at managing the pandemic in our State.
- In this regard, the last one week has been quite eventful, albeit unusually. There were two significant situations that I must brief you on. First, the week recorded the highest number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in our dear State since the index case in February, 2020. In fact, on one single day, on Tuesday, 19th May, we recorded 25 new cases. The total new cases in the last one week is 49, thus bringing the cumulative total of confirmed cases to 183. I am delighted that a new batch of 36 cases who have been successfully cared for at our Treatment Centers have been given a clean bill of health to rejoin their families, thus bringing the total number of those discharged to 97. Cumulative number of discharged patients to date which is 97 or 53% of total positive cases is an improvement over the comparative figure of 59 or 44% of last week We thank God that we did not record any new mortality from the virus in the last one week, though we have regrettably recorded a total number 6 mortalities. This leaves us with 80 active cases who are currently receiving care and treatment at our Treatment centers. I am pleased to report that the rate of recovery is encouraging and reassuring. We pray that this continues to be the case. But we cannot ignore the fact that we are having a sudden rise in the number of new cases. We all decried an increase of 30% last week when I was giving the weekly update. 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.
- Our approach of increased testing capacity and faster turn-around of results is yielding the desired result of tracking the prevalence of the spread of the virus, particularly in our border communities. It is note worthy to mention that the team from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) arrived today to certify our molecular laboratory in Sagamu, this laboratory should be available for use in the next few days. This will further boost our testing capacity from the current 450 tests to 600 tests per day. We will continue to be guided by science and data which has allowed us to model the prevalence of the spread of the virus, anticipate and prepare accordingly.
- However, I must say that the level of compliance with the laid- down precautionary measures in the fight against COVID-19 is not yet at the desired level. Some people still flagrantly flout the Presidential ban on inter-State travel for non-essential services and the daily night curfew. 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. They are being quarantined at Idi-Iroko, pending repatriation back to their countries.
- On the domestic front, many of our people are yet to fully appreciate that their welfare and well-being are their personal responsibilities. 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. 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.
- 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 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. I am delighted to note that some have commenced the testing and it is expected that others will also comply.
- We have adopted the “See and Treat” protocol which commences the immediate treatment of anybody who presents with symptoms, even as the sample is taken for testing and result awaited. As you are aware, there is no cure yet for the virus, only the symptoms are managed. The “See and Treat” protocol is practical and prevents the symptoms from worsening.
- We encourage our people to boost their immune system by ensuring regular intake of foods and vegetables that are rich sources of natural minerals such as Vitamin C, Garlic, and Ginger. Though these are not cures for the virus, but are known to be helpful in boosting the immune system.
- As your Government, we will continue to be guided by science and analyses of all available data and feedback from the field to review the measures in place. As this pandemic is an unprecedented global pandemic, we also monitor and learn from the experiences in other climes, particularly experiences related to phasing the ease of lockdown. I have to state that after all considerations, 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. As we have always maintained the delicate balance between lives and livelihood, we will continue to have our window of relaxation, from 7am to 5pm on Monday, 25th May, 2020; Wednesday, 27th May, 2020 and Friday, 29th May, 2020. We must also bear in mind that the daily curfew from 8pm to 6am and the ban on non-essential inter-State travel as directed by Mr. President still stand.
- The current phase of the eased lockdown will terminate on 31st May. The second phase, which will commence from the 1st of June, will be accompanied with a further ease of the lockdown and expansion of the windows of relaxation. The guidelines and details will be provided in due course. In the meantime, another round of the distribution of the palliative to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 measures will commence over the weekend.
- I am not unaware of the great discomfort, inconveniences and even deprivations the lockdown, even with the ease and windows of relaxation, have foisted on us all. But the measures to combat COVID- 19, as unpleasant as they are, are the price we all need to pay to stay alive, beyond this period. These trials shall pass. The unpleasant truth is that only those who are alive can pursue their dreams or economic activities. Therefore, I wish to enjoin all citizens and residents of Ogun State to observe all the announced measures so that together we can prevent the continued transmission of COVID-19 and flatten the curve in Ogun State, and by extension, the whole country.
- At this point, I must also continue to commend all our State healthcare workers and other frontline officers; and all the various security agencies and journalists for their continued vigilance, devotion, resilience and patriotism. You have continued to put your lives on the line to protect the rest of us. We appreciate you and we pray that God will continue to protect you in the line of duty to humanity. I must also appreciate the various individuals and organisations that have continued to partner and support us in managing the pandemic and mitigating the effect on our citizens. By these kind gestures, you have all continued to strengthen our will and give deep assurances for the successful implementation of our “Building our Future Together” Agenda.
- As I end this address, let me congratulate all our Muslim brothers and sisters on the expected successful end of the Ramadam fast. I understand that we will be on the look-out for the new moon as from this evening. I pray that Allah accept our fast and other forms of worship and grant us the full benefits both here and hereafter. However, we must appreciate the fact that this Ramadan is unique as occasioned by the global effects of COVID-19. We therefore align with the position of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), whose Secretary-General, Professor Is-haq Oloyede, is a proud son of our State, and enjoin the Muslim faithful in our dear State to comply with the council’s directive and offer their Eid prayers at home. It is my prayer that Allah will preserve us all for many more years of Ramadan fast and clothe us with His mercies to celebrate with the usual fanfare in the future. Eid Mubarak in advance.
- We thank the good people of Ogun State for their understanding and cooperation as we manage the pandemic. COVID-19 is a phase in human history. We will continue to do the work for which we were elected, which is to serve and protect our people at all times, especially in such a time like this. Together, we will defeat COVID-19.
- I thank you all for listening and God bless.
“Igbega Ipinle Ogun, ajose gbogbo wa ni!”
Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR
Governor of Ogun State, Nigeria
Friday, 22nd May, 2020.
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