The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has advised the people of the state to learn from his COVID-19 infection, accept the reality of the pandemic and cooperate with government in order to put an end to the deadly coronavirus.
Dr. Fayemi, who expressed concern over an increase in the rate of infection in the last one month in the state with 109 fresh cases, stressed that both the government and the people must do more to reduce the tally.
The Governor expressed optimism that COVID-19 protocols would be strictly adhered to as schools open with only SSS 3 students on August 10 and religious centres from August 14, while resumption date for JSS 3 students and Primary 6 pupils would be communicated later.
He disclosed that he had directed a random sampling test for COVID-19 infection of students and teachers who are resuming, so as to be able to assess their risk level as part of efforts to ensure that Ekiti does not have a spike after resumption.
Fayemi, in a state wide broadcast on Wednesday, disclosed that parents of the resuming students are to provide their wards with at least two face masks each, which is now a precondition for admittance into their school premises.
The Governor also commended the Organised Labour and the leadership of the Joint Associations and Unions of Ekiti State Health Care Workers for suspending their industrial actions, assuring that all demands of workers in the state are being looked into in line with what state resources can accommodate.
He appealed to doctors in government hospitals under the aegis of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners, who are presently on strike, to emulate their counterparts by ending the action in the interest of poor citizens, noting that while “arrears of unpaid allowances can be collected, a life lost cannot be reversed”.
The Governor recalled that Ekiti State had 43 positive cases with 28 treated and discharged, while only 13 were active cases at the beginning of July, but the state now has a total number of 152 cases at last count, an increase of 109 cases in one month.
Fayemi attributed increase in cases to the random community testing exercise, which was made possible with facilities at the state-owned laboratory and the proximity to States with high incidences of confirmed infections; noting that lessons have been learnt from his experience with his own infection and isolation for ten days.
He said: “The fact that I could contract the virus in spite of the conscious effort to protect myself and people around me underscores my consistent warnings that we should never take things for granted. It also proves that indeed the virus is real and here, and that it is a respecter of no persons.
“That is why I have always maintained that we cannot be vigilant enough until we have collectively come to the end of this pandemic. I therefore implore you, dear compatriots, to take extra measures to ensure that you keep yourself safe.
“The second lesson to learn from my experience is that the virus is not a death sentence. The key weapons is early detection (through testing), isolation and treatment. From our experience, we have successfully treated and discharged 67 cases in Ekiti today while we still have about 83 active cases.”
On reopening of worship centres, Fayemi said: “The Task Force leadership have told me that many religious worship centres are now ready and should be able to reopen for service according to the established protocols from August 14, 2020.
“I want to appeal to religious centres as moral agents and institutions reputed for discipline. They must ensure the jointly agreed protocols are adhered to, to protect lives of worshipers as they go about their activities from August 14, 2020.
“Key aspects of the protocols include but are not limited to the following: fumigation of the worship centres and their surroundings, maintenance of social distancing of six-feet apart during worship, provision of infrared thermometer, provision of hand sanitizers and ensuring the windows and doors are wide open.
“The protocols also implicate that there should be no multiple services, and services must be concluded within two hours while children below 12 years of age and elderly people above 65 are not allowed to attend services or Salat until further notice. An attendance register must be provided by each worship centre to record attendance.
“For the avoidance of doubt, only Friday Jumat for Muslims, Saturday Sabbath for Adventists and Sunday Services for other Christians denominations are allowed. Weekly and vigil services are not to hold in the meanwhile. Similarly all traditional worships of festivals that demand large gathering of devotees are suspended until further notice.”
As part of efforts to decongest the big markets in Ado Ekiti, Fayemi disclosed that expansion work on Awedele and Agric Olope Markets has progressed significantly, urging the affected traders to contact relevant authorities to facilitate their relocation.
The Governor also revealed that his administration has decided to embark on another comprehensive distribution of palliatives on all the 16 local government areas to cover a sizeable proportion of vulnerable households with the support of CACOVID.