By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo
Worried by the number of coronavirus cases discovered in Edo, the State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew, as part of measures to halt further spread of coronavirus in the state.
The curfew which commences April 20, 2020, and prohibits movement between 7pm and 6am, according to the governor, is part of additional measures to ensure that people stay at home and prevent further spread of the infectious disease.
Obaseki, who disclosed this during a broadcast on Sunday, noted that the order will be reviewed after 10 days when increased screening and testing of citizens in the state must have been achieved.
“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 the 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 added.
While noting that the testing centre at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) is ready to commence operation, Obaseki said Edo State will in the next few days begin testing for 1000 residents daily.
The governor 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 frontlines in the fight against the pandemic.
“Screening and testing are 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.”, Obaseki added.
According to the governor, “We will continue to impose a partial lockdown for now and not totally shut down 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.
He continued, “I want to reiterate that the ban on street trading, which was announced by the Deputy Governor, 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.”