Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi on Tuesday, inaugurated a 40-man task force to coordinate the prevention and management of a possible outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus in the state, with a charge to “beat the virus” and minimise its impact on the state’s economy.
Governor Fayemi who leads the task force that comprises heads of all tertiary health institutions in the state, epidemiologists, state officials and representatives of the informal sector, said his administration was determined to prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus in the state through a combination of public enlightenment and updated medical facilities.
The state Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Mojisola Yaya-Kolade; Commissioner for Environment, Gbenga Agbeyo; Head, Office of Transformation and Service Delivery (OTSD), Prof Bolaji Aluko; state representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF are also members of the task force.
The governor who addressed stakeholders and journalists at a special session on COVID-19 in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday, also disclosed other arrangements being put in place to properly manage the health issue.
These include volumes of pamphlets and posters, an isolation centre for quarantine, 24/7 emergency-response unit, gears for health officers and hand sanitisers as well as water dispensing units.
The Federal Government had last week reported the first case of coronavirus through an Italian man who arrived Lagos from Italy on February, 25.
Fayemi said: “I have set up a 40-person Ekiti State Task Force on Covid-19 under my direct leadership with representatives from all relevant sectors of the state including medical experts, state government officials, the legislature, local government chairmen, religious leaders and traditional leaders, sector leaders like the NURTW, market associations, civil society organizations and development partners.
“We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that Ekiti people are prepared to beat the virus and minimise its impact on our economy.”
The governor, who took time to enlighten the gathering on the symptoms of the virus, urged the people to inculcate, improve and sustain a healthy lifestyle, noting that “coronavirus was an offshoot of unhygienic lifestyle and spread vastly by unhealthy living.
Governor Fayemi also directed public and private institutions in the state to provide hand sanitisers and water and soap for proper washing of hands to minimise the risk of an outbreak in the state. He called for a school and market outreach where people would be enlightened.
“What this is telling us is that there is no alternative to a healthy lifestyle. As a people and government, we must continually work on the sustenance of a healthy and hygienic lifestyle.”
Fayemi, disclosed that the state government had conducted a vulnerability map of all the lands and major parks leading to Ekiti State, with a view to putting preventive measures to screen inward bound passengers at motor park of departure and border towns, adding that his government would work with drivers’ unions to maintain passenger manifests to track suspected infected passengers if the need arises.
While cautioning against the spread of rumours and misinformation that could cause panic among the people of the state, the governor asked the residents to make use of the National Emergency Number 112 and other hotlines that would be made available to the public to inform the government about suspected cases of the virus.
“We have set up 24/7 emergency operation centre to coordinate our response to this public health threat. Dedicated hotlines will be made available to the public to call if they suspect any infection. The National Emergency Number 112 is also active and citizens can call free of charge to report emergency,” he said.
He added that public awareness on all radio and TV stations had been activated to educate, inform, enlighten and correct rumours and misinformation on the threat of the Coronavirus.