Amid growing concerns over the Coronavirus pandemic, Oyo State Government has declared an emergency by ordering the immediate closure of Schools and the inauguration of Emergency Operation Centres, among other measures.
The State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, who addressed Newsmen late on Friday, March 20, 2020, after the inaugural meeting of the State’s COVID-19 Task Force, held at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, said Schools in the State will remain closed till after Easter.
The Governor also declared that the State remained fully committed to the prevention, curtailment and control of the disease.
According to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, the Governor announced that the suspected case of the virus, which sample was sent from Ibadan to the National Reference Centre for South-West at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Lagos, was negative.
The Governor stated that there is still no confirmed case of Coronavirus in the State, adding that Government will do everything within its powers to see that no life will be lost to the pandemic.
According to him, people in the State should not panic about the disease but constantly observe hygienic practices as prescribed by Medical Experts.
Governor Makinde, who stated that the Schools will remain closed till after the Easter break, said Government would use the period of the forced break to evaluate the situation and put protective system in place in Schools; adding that Government would ensure a proper evaluation of the situation before resumption.
He declared that as part of immediate efforts to curtail and/or control the Coronavirus pandemic in the State, the Government will activate Emergency Operation Centres and a Diagnostic Centre in the next two days, adding that the Maternal and Paediatrics Centre, Olodo, Ibadan, has been re-designated as the State Infectious Disease Hospital.
According to the Governor, two ambulances would be on standby to attend to cases of Coronavirus suspects, as he noted that Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers, DSNOs, located in all the 33 Local Government and 35 Local Council Development Areas of the State have continued their surveillance activities.
The Governor maintained that the State will heighten the ongoing enlightenment on the COVID-19, activate wash centres in the Markets and public places; and also procure personal protective gears for the State’s Health Workers as quickly as possible.
Governor Makinde, who warned politicians to quit playing politics with the Coronavirus situation by trying to unnecessarily milk the Unification Rally held by the PDP, noted that it is now a serious challenge that would take the concerted efforts of everyone to overcome.
He noted that the Commissioner for Health has been asked to immediately provide a check-list of whatever is needed, while the Accountant-General of the State has been put on alert, because the State would make emergency purchases where necessary, even during the weekend.
Responding to questions from Newsmen, Governor Makinde maintained that the State would make the closure of worship centres and religious gatherings voluntary; however, noting that Churches, Mosques and other religious centres are strongly advised not to have more than 50 people gathered in the same place at once.
The Governor stated that with the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic already threatening Federal allocation, the aim of State to develop its local economy such that it would not have to depend on federal allocations remained on focus.