Appeal by stakeholders and religious leaders seeking the reopening of religious houses including churches and mosques in Ekiti State have met a dead end as the government rejected the push by insisting that the worship centers would remain closed until such times control is gained against coronavirus.
As said, the action was part of government efforts to flatten coronavirus curve and mitigate person-to-person transmission, which the government argued, religious centers can be a fertile ground for.
The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, who gave the government position noted that to avoid a surge in cases of the virus, all the worship centers across the state must remain closed, while the government continues with aggressive contact tracing and testing.
Speaking during the Covid-19 Taskforce press briefing at the Governor’s office in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday, Yaya-Kolade explained that the government had met with religious leaders and deliberate extensively on why the religious houses should remain closed while the government continues in its fight against the deadly respiratory disease.
“We have met with the religious leaders and what we said was that churches and mosques remain closed. We have met and deliberated and the decision to reopen will be made as we see that we have enough scientific evidence which shows that it is safe to reopen.
“We don’t want to open and later say we want to close our worship centres. A lot of things happen in churches like handshaking, embracing, clustering, and taking of Holy Communion together, all these must be resolved before we can say we want to open our churches”. she said.
The Commissioner also disclosed that the government would commence testing at its molecular laboratory, on Thursday (tomorrow) to boost the state’s testing capacity, adding that the state was still managing six patients after four patients were reunited with their family after being certified free from the virus.
Yaya-Kolade said all the patients at the isolation center are stable, adding that those on oxygen supplementation had been taken off and can now breathe on their own.
“Two of the six still being isolated have turned negative. We are awaiting the second negative for them to be discharged.
“We will begin pilot testing tomorrow(Thursday) at the molecular laboratory that we established. Everything is set for the commencement of the large scale testing. We are happy that there is no community spread in Ekiti, there is even decline and we have to keep this tempo going”, she said.