From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
Reacting to the rise in COVID-19 cases from the third wave of the pandemic in Ekiti State, Governor Kayode Fayemi has imposed restrictions on social, religious, political gatherings across the state and directed transporters to reduce the number of passengers by half.
The governor, who explained that the move was imperative to contain further spread of the virus, said the 180 confirmed positive cases that were recorded between July and first few days of August were lamentable.
In his address which was read by Commissioner for Health Dr Oyebanji Filani on Tuesday in Ado Ekiti, Governor Fayemi noted that all efforts must be geared towards stopping the further spread of the deadly variant in the state.
According to him, the state recorded 95 cases in July and frighteningly 85 cases in the first few days in the month of August, adding: ‘We are constrained to respond to this development with the following non-pharmaceutical control measures, which remain our best means of containing the pandemic in the state.’
According to him, the patients are stable across the isolations centres in the state, advising residents to go about their businesses with strict adherence to the safety protocols, saying: ‘We must never trivialise the danger that COVID-19 continues to pose to us. We must ensure we do not have a reversal of fortune. We cannot afford a community infection that could easily overwhelm our capacity and return us to another round of stay-at-home with even more stringent measures.’
The governor said: ‘It is my duty to inform you that Ekiti State is experiencing an unwelcome increase in the number of COVID-19 confirmed positive cases. In the month of July, we recorded ninety-five (95) cases, and we have now recorded 85 cases in the first week of August. 85 cases in just 6 days.
‘We are obviously experiencing the third wave with more cases than we experienced in the second wave in March 2021. Besides, with the introduction of the Delta strain of the COVID-19 virus in the country and the recent evidence of its community transmission as reported by NCDC, it is imperative for us as a state to enforce our existing COVID-19 regulations more strictly to safeguard the health of our people.’
He revealed that public gatherings especially social, political and business in the state should be restricted to only 50 persons with social distancing of 6 feet and mandatory use of face masks.
On religious centres, Fayemi said ‘our religious gatherings in the state would be with temporary restrictions starting from Friday August 13, 2021, for Muslims and Sunday August 15, 2021, for Christians. All gatherings must be held in strict and full compliance with the regulations regarding worship centres which include social distancing of 6-feet between worshippers, hand washing and face Schools should be fumigated and kept safe for our students before reopening. While major markets and businesses remain open, COVID-19 regulations must be put in place in such spaces.’
On commercial transporters, the governor said ‘commercial transporters must comply with strict social distancing directives. Motorcycles (Okadas) can only carry one passenger, taxis not more than three passengers and tricycles not more than two passengers and all hotels must ensure that they provide hand washing stands at their entrances and ensure their guests always wear face masks.’
He maintained that officials of the government would be out to monitor the level of compliance and that defaulters would be punished in accordance with the law.
Governor Fayemi who disclosed that the state is expecting about 95,000 doses Moderna vaccine in addition to the earlier AstraZeneca vaccine received, called on the residents to make themselves available for the second phase of the vaccination.
‘Evidence has shown that fully vaccinated individuals are protected from severe COVID-19 infection and death. Vaccines have been confirmed to be safe, and 70,049 people have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine in the state, without any side effect.
‘As we await the second phase of the vaccination, I encourage all eligible citizens to take their jabs as soon as the vaccines are available,’ he said.