Worried by the fatal impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the aged population in Edo, the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has urged residents to abide by all health and safety precautions to check the spread of the virus in order to protect the elderly, noting that the aged accounts for over 50 percent of deaths recorded in the state.
The governor, who spoke while addressing journalists in Benin City, charged citizens to intensify protective measures such as wearing of face masks, hand washing and practicing physical distancing to protect the aged who make up only five per cent of the state’s population.
He noted that “Following consultations with Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and religious bodies, we will commence a reopening of places of worship. We are expanding screening and testing to religious groups/organizations and business establishments. We call on all religious organisations, corporate bodies and health facilities to assist us drive modalities for our new norm and cooperate with the designated health and security agencies in this regard.”
According to Obaseki, “Data clearly shows that there is now a large-scale community spread with the elderly persons being the most affected. Even though persons aged 60 years and above make up five percent of our population, over 50 percent of deaths recorded affect this category of people. This shows that the coronavirus disease has a more fatal impact on them resulting in death.
“As a government, we are very concerned about this exposure of our elderly population to this disease and so we have resolved that these vulnerable persons must be protected. Their lives matter. We must now intensify protective measures such as wearing face masks, hand washing and practicing physical distancing. We cannot afford to act irresponsibly, so we must take this preventive action very seriously.”
Governor Obaseki expressed displeasure that although the state has comfortable facilities that can care for up to 500 people, some persons are refusing to isolate and receive treatment in these facilities, adding, “When you isolate at home, there is a higher likelihood that other people will be infected especially our elderly parents and grandparents further perpetuating community transmissions and spread with grave public health implications. We frown against this selfish behaviour and henceforth, we will be publishing a list of persons who refuse to isolate in our isolation and treatment centres.”
In view of the up-coming election in the state and to reduce infection transmission rates during political gatherings, Obaseki insisted on strict enforcement of regulations spelt out in the state’s gazette issued by the government to curtail the spread of the virus and protect Edo people.
He further noted, “Schools remain closed, however, guidelines for phased reopening are being developed together with the Federal Ministry of Education especially for students in JSS 3 and SS 3 who are preparing for their exit examinations. I encourage all Edo parents and guardians of pupils in primary schools, to continue to utilize our e-learning platforms for their educational needs, while they are still at home.
“We will continue phased relocations and reopening of our markets. We strongly appeal to traders and market union leadership to strictly comply and enforce Government directives on social distancing measures for their own health and wellbeing”