By Osahon Osahon
Governor Godwin Obaseki has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Edo State beginning from Monday April 20, 2020 over the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The decision, Obaseki announced on Sunday, is aimed at checkmating the spread of the dreaded virus in the state.
With this pronouncement, movement of people throughout the state is prohibited from 7pm to 6am.
Obaseki who disclosed this in a broadcast, noted that the order will be reviewed after 10 days, when increased screening and testing of citizens in the state must have been achieved.
He said the curfew is part of additional measures to ensure that people stay at home and prevent further spread of the infectious disease.
“We realise we need to do more social distancing at this time. Therefore, we are taking additional measures to ensure that people stay at home.
“Consequently, with effect from tomorrow 20th April, an order prohibiting movement of people in Edo State from 7pm to 6am. This order will be reviewed after 10 days when we have increased our screening and testing of our citizens.
“The security agencies, by this directive, are mandated to enforce total compliance by ensuring that movement is restricted at night across the State,” he said.
The Governor who noted that the testing centre at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) is ready to commence operation, added that the State will in the next few days begin testing for 1000 residents daily.
He said healthcare workers handling the COVID-19 response in the state have been provided with life insurance and special allowances, as motivation to work on the front lines in the fight against the pandemic.
“Screening and testing is key if we are to understand and have the required information to control the spread of this virus. Therefore, our goal is to screen a minimum of 500,000 of our citizens.
“The first of the proposed 100 screening centres started operations last week in Oredo Local Government Area. Six of these centres are Public Primary Healthcare Centers, and 4 are in private hospitals. This would be scaled up to all the 18 local government areas in the state within the next 2 weeks.
“I am glad to inform you that the testing centre at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) is now ready. We have begun trial tests under the guidance of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); we expect it will commence full operations this week.
“We have also taken delivery of another PCR testing machine currently being installed at the Edo Specialist Hospital which we hope will also be ready within the next 2 weeks.
“This will give us the capacity to perform up to 1000 tests daily in Edo State. With massive screening and testing we will have sufficient information which is required to direct the decisions for proper management and control of the scourge.
“We will continue to impose a partial lockdown for now and not totally shutdown the economy because of the untold economic hardships which a total shutdown will cause to our citizens. We will review our decisions based on the evidence obtained from our mass screening and testing.
“I want to reiterate that the ban on street trading, which was announced by the Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, is in the best interest of our people. This move is aimed at ensuring that all trading activities in this period is concentrated in the primary and secondary school premises, where we are strictly enforcing the social distancing policy as well as the hygiene and safety precautions, which will slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Once again, try to get screened at any of our several screening centres across the state and where required, you will be tested for confirmation. Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water and use alcohol-based sanitizers. Stay at home; but if you must go out, wear facemasks and avoid gatherings of more than 20 persons,” Obaseki said.