ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE GOVERNOR OF OGUN STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY, PRINCE DAPO ABIODUN MFR, ON UPDATE AND EFFORTS TO COMBAT COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THURSDAY, 28TH MAY, 2020
My dear people of Ogun State,
In my update last week on the COVID-19 situation, I emphasized that our approach in combating the dreaded virus will be guided by science, data and feedback from the field. In addition, we will always strike the right balance between the need for our people to pursue their economic activities whilst discharging our duties of safeguarding public health and safety. Also, I indicated last week that the eased lockdown may be further eased from the first week of June, based on the review of the situation in the current week.
2. Before highlighting the conclusions we reached after the review, let me update you on the medical statistics and other important developments during the week. Between Thursday, 21 May and yesterday, Wednesday, 27 May 2020 we recorded 59 new positive cases, an increase of 32 %, bringing the total number of positive cases to date to 242. We thank God, once again, that in the same period, additional 12 individuals have been successfully treated and discharged from our Treatment Centres, bringing the total discharged cases to 109, leaving us with 133 active cases. The 12% increase in the number of successful discharges is a delightful continuation of the trend we have been witnessing. We thank God and appreciate the team of our healthcare providers for this development. Sadly, we regret the loss of three people, two of whom were confirmed positive after their death. This brings the total mortality to 9, as against 6 at the last briefing. May God repose the souls of the departed, comfort their families and heal the world.
3. We have continued our community screening and testing. And our testing capacity has been further boosted during the week. The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has accredited our Molecular Laboratory in Sagamu, the first State Government fully funded Molecular Laboratory in the country. With our mobile laboratory, also the first of its kind in Nigeria, which has been in use for weeks, we now have a combined daily testing capacity of about 650. To put into context our effort so far, we have screened about 10,900 people out of which we have tested 1,562 placing us number 4th in the country in number of tests conducted, out of which 242 have turned out positive.
4. Monitoring of the compliance level of our people with the COVID-19 guidelines is still very much under focus. This is still an issue of great concern to us. Adherence to the guidelines is still the most potent safeguard humanity has to confront the invisible enemy. The indication of the level of compliance is illustrated with the number of violations recorded. 235 violators were arrested and prosecuted at the mobile courts while 64 vehicles were impounded for various offences including interstate travel and defiance of the curfew order. Our law enforcement agents are, once again, commended for their commitment to duty in enforcing the guidelines. But let me emphasise again that compliance with the guidelines is not just a moral responsibility and civic duty, it is much more.
People should realise that compliance has a direct bearing with their own safety and that of their loved ones. It is not a favour to the State, it is something that directly safeguards the individual.
5. It is now over 8 weeks since the President directed the lockdown of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; Lagos and Ogun States. You will recall that following this Presidential directive, we made a request to the President, which he graciously granted, that the commencement of the lockdown in our State should be delayed by one week. This was to enable the residents stock up for the period of the lockdown and make other preparations. It was to also allow the state to procure and finalise the logistics of distribution of palliative items to cushion the effect of the lockdown on our citizens. In addition, Ogun State was the only location that from the onset provided three days of windows of relaxation of the lockdown in a week i.e. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The initial window was from 7.00am to 2.00pm. and it was later eased to 7.00am to 5.00pm ahead of the daily curfew starting from 8.00pm to 6.00am as announced by the President.
6. These variations and relaxation in the implementation of the lockdown in Ogun State were informed by our peculiarity and geography and the need of our people to have windows to conduct essential economic activities. Besides, as the industrial capital of the Nation with the largest number of industries, we also factored in the need not to totally grind down the operations of the industries, in order not to jeopardize the ability of the economy to rebound after the pandemic. The Agriculture sector was also exempted from the restrictions, as it is considered an essential sector to ensure food security, service the input requirements of the industry and preserve employments. And yet, we had to make tough but required decisions to strike a careful balance between the innate entrepreneurial passion of our people to engage in their daily economic pursuits and the need to protect public safety and health. It was not an easy call each time I had to brief the state and announce the measures. However, we thank our people for their great understanding and cooperation.
7. It is also important to mention that our approach in combating COVID-19 in the State seeks to align with the extant guidelines in place as issued by the Presidential Task Force, given that Ogun State is one of the States in the Presidential lockdown directive. Therefore, in consideration of the need to increasingly allow economic activities and after consultations with stakeholders, and based on expert advice from medical scientists and data analysis, the second phase of the eased lockdown will commence on the first of June, as indicated last week.
8. This second phase has two major elements of further relaxation of the restrictions and expansion in the number of days. In contrast to the current three days of Monday, Wednesday and Friday, this new phase opens up all the five working days in the week i.e Monday to Friday, with only Saturday and Sunday as lockdown days. In addition, there will be no time restriction from Monday to Friday, with the exception of the curfew period from 8.00pm or as may be directed by the President. Let no one make a mistake. COVID- 19 is neither over nor the curve of the spread flattened. From all available data and simulations, we are yet to reach our peak, consequently the further easing of the lockdown is not a license to believe the worst is over.
9. For avoidance of doubt, all the existing guidelines to combat COVID-19 in the State remain in place. In addition, specific guidelines to guide the operations of industries have been issued and must be fully complied with by all industries, as part of preparations for full operations. Let me reiterate some of the guidelines.
! The curfew from 8.00pm to 6.00am as directed by the President is still in place.
! Restrictions on Interstate travel are also retained
! Wearing of face masks in the public is still mandatory
!Only one passenger is still allowed for motorcyles, otherwise known as Okadas, whilst tricycles are limited to two passengers only.
!Taxi cabs and buses still have 60% limitation on their carrying capacity and we will arrest and impound any driver that contravenes.
! The COVID-19 Task Force in markets are still mandated to ensure physical distancing, availability of handwashing facilities and use of gloves in addition to facemasks for traders.
! Fumigation will continue in our markets and other public places.
! Limitation of all gatherings to a maximum number of 20, including religious activities, is still in effect. We are currently working on the guidelines for places of worship. Until this is finalized, the current restrictions apply.
!Gyms, event centres, cinemas, arcades, bars, casinos, nightclubs, swimming pools, barber-shops, spas, beauty Salons, and all public parks, including those in private residential estates, will not be allowed to operate, even during this new phase of relaxation.
!Restaurants are permitted to provide ONLY take-away services and should also ensure that there are no more than 10-15 customers at a time with physical distancing. Guidelines for eat-in services are being finetuned.
!The “Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines for Workplaces in Ogun State to combat COVID-19” has been issued by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments. All industries in Ogun State are expected to comply with these guidelines.
! We are encouraged by the reports of some industries with large number of personnel carrying out COVID-19 test on their staff, amongst other measures. Testing of staff is one of the requirements contained in the guidelines issued.
! A Task Force has been set up to conduct random spot checks on the premises of the industries, restaurants and other business enterprises to confirm compliance. I wish to reiterate and warn that violation of any of the guidelines will be treated as a threat to our collective well- being and will be met with appropriate penalties.
10. We will continue to update and refine our response in consonance with the dynamics of the fight against this Covid-19 pandemic and monitor the effect of this gradual and controlled ease of the lockdown. Particularly, its effect on public health and the economic impact.
11. In the meantime, the distribution of palliative items is on- going and we will spare no effort to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are supported and protected during this difficult time.
12. Let me state clearly that this is not a full reopening of the economy and I encourage as many of us that can continue to work/meet online and remotely from home to continue to do so.
13. As I close this address, let me specially thank all our frontline workers – doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical lab scientists and indeed all health workers. I also salute the resilience and understanding of security personnel, journalists and other essential workers for their efforts flatten the curve of Covid-19. Let me once again appreciate individuals and corporate organizations who have donated to our dear State by way of cash, medical equipment and other essential materials. We are indeed grateful.
14. I thank you all for listening and God bless. Igbega Ipinle Ogun, ajose gbogbo wa ni o.
Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR, Governor of Ogun State, Nigeria. Thursday, 28th May, 2020