By Esezobor Ohimai, Benin City
Compliments of the season to you my great people of Edo State.
The reason why I decided to address you today is to bring to your attention that a second wave of covid-19, which has been ravaging the world, has now hit us in Edo State.
As at this morning, we have recorded 32 active cases with 4 new cases in the last 24 hours.
Experts have warned that from experience, the second wave in any epidemic is usually larger than the first. This is why as a government we are very concerned.
Arising from the experience, which we gained during the last outbreak of COVID-19, we now have in place a robust disease surveillance system in the state with well-trained contact tracers, who can undertake active case searches; we have 4 PCR molecular laboratories that can undertake large numbers of tests with procedures to promptly obtain results from the laboratories.
Our case management system is intact to provide care for confirmed cases. We also have 4 well-equipped, functional isolation centers spread across the state.
Even though we have created the capacity to respond to the new outbreak of COVID-19, our strategy to cope with the second wave is to:
– Decrease the incidence of the disease
– Decrease the mortality from the disease
In order to decrease the number of COVID-19 cases and reduce deaths from this second wave, we must emphasis public enlightenment. As much as possible, you should avoid crowded places, closed places and close contact with other people.
We appreciate that during the yuletide period, there are normally a lot of interactions with family and friends, but unfortunately, we would have to sacrifice this old practice so that we can be alive to enjoy many more xmas and year end activities in future.
Consequently, government has decided to reintroduce the following measures in Edo State to limit the spread of the second wave of COVID-19, particularly during this holiday period:
– Wearing of facemask is mandatory in public places
– There should be drastic reduction in number of people attending religious, political and social gatherings in one place
– People are advised not to patronize or enter any public facility without hand wash station, provided with soap and running water
– Make use of hand sanitisers and observe adequate hand hygiene
– All schools in the state will remain shut until January 18, 2021.
– In line with the Federal Government directive, we have adjusted our curfew to now begin from 12 mid-night to 4 am daily, beginning from today, December 23, 2020, except on December 31st, 2020
Let me use this opportunity to thank religious leaders for their support and assistance during the first wave of the pandemic. I encourage them to actively and continuously disseminate information on adhering to safety guidelines to halt the spread of the disease.
Several corporate institutions particularly banks have so far done well in enforcing social distancing and other safety measures. They are however encouraged to intensify efforts this time around to ensure that we curb the spread of this deadly virus.
Market unions and trade associations are encouraged to rally their members to adhere to public health and safety guidelines outlined to halt the spread of the disease. Do not sell items to anyone not wearing facemasks so that they don’t put your life at risk.
For our brothers and sisters returning from abroad, we urge you to contact the Edo Emergency Operation Centre on this toll-free number: 08003625000.
As we celebrate this season of love, we must be circumspect so as not to lose our loved ones.
In as much as government will enforce the rules relating to COVID-19 in Edo State, it is important that each and every one of us take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and the people around us. We must abide by all public health and safety measures to ensure that we are safe.
We appreciate the burden and dislocation which these restrictions cause our citizens and hope that with the discovery of the COVID-19 vaccines, this would be the last wave of the epidemic we would have to deal with.
Just as we collectively fought the first wave of COVID-19 together earlier this year, if we remember to wash our hands regularly with soap and water, keep a safe distance from other people and wear facemasks when in public, we will similarly overcome this wave.
Except it is absolutely necessary to go out, please stay at home.
I WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HEALTHY, HAPPY NEW YEAR.