As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state on Monday advised members of the public not to panic.
He gave the advice while briefing media practitioners in the state, on the confirmed case of coronavirus in the state.
He however announced prohibitions to be enforced by the government, aimed at curtailing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The patient who tested positive to the virus and is presently being isolated and treated at Irrua Specialist Hospital, Irrua, was said to be a returnee from Europe.
It was however gathered that the patient flew into the State last week through the Benin city airport, and moved to Ekpoma, from where she was moved to the hospital for confirmation test.
“In Edo state we have developed our action plan to cope with the pandemic. The postponed National Sports Festival Edo 2020 gave us the opportunity to put in place a contingency plan.
“We have three isolation centres in Benin city, Irrua and Auchi, a federal government testing centre in Irrua and a large number of very well-trained, certified workers to trace and treat patients.
“Coronavirus is not a death sentence, so there is no need to panic. With swift identification, proper care and management, many persons who had been infected with the virus have made full recoveries.
“As we face this challenge, I call on Edo residents to remain calm and co-operate with us and ensure that you follow the instructions and steps which have been outlined to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
“It is possible to cope with it, if we all work together to take the right precautions,” he said.
The Governor advocated social distancing as foremost measure to curtail the spread of the dreaded virus.
This is even as he announced prohibition of gathering of more than 50 persons throughout the state.
“Since COVID-19 is a virus that is transmitted from one person to another through close contact, the most effective and proven remedy to reduce its spread is through social distancing. Social distancing involves reducing as much as possible physical contacts with others.
“The government of Edo state therefore advises that from today Monday 23 March 2020, every citizen should practice social distancing to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading.
“In order to give effect to our social distancing policy gatherings of more than 50 is prohibited in Edo state till further notice.
“All schools are to remain closed in Edo state till further notice. Public transportation will remain in operation. However, crowding in commercial vehicles should be avoided.
“All public officers below grade level 12 (except those providing essential services such as fire and healthcare) should work from home till further notice.
“Citizens are advised to postpone unnecessary travels in and out of Edo state and if possible, stay at home.
“If you or you know of anyone who arrived from Europe, America or Asia in the last 30 days please give the details of such persons including their phone numbers so that we can provide screening and any required support to them.
“If you or any relative notice any signs and symptoms of Coronavirus, please report to the nearest designated hospitals (Central Hospital, Edo Specialist Hospital, Stella Obasanjo Hospital, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, University of Benin Teaching Hospital and Auchi General Hospital), for monitoring, possible testing and treatment for better chances of recovery,” Obaseki said.
The Governor assured that the government is very interested in the health, welfare and social support for vulnerable groups, particularly the elderly and persons with chronic diseases.
The Edo state taskforce on COVID-19 which is headed by me and made up of prominent leaders in the state will meet frequently to review and update the situation.
As you go about your daily activities, apply extra caution to wash hands regularly under running water and use alcohol-based sanitisers.
“Be rest assured that your government will provide the required leadership and support to check this pandemic in Edo state,” he added.