By Adisa Omogbolahan, Ibadan
As part of measures put in place by the Oyo State government to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, the government, on Wednesday, directed civil and public servants in the employment of the state, local governments and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to stay off work for two weeks.
A statement made available on Wednesday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that civil/public servants across all cadres in the state should stay off work as the state studies the situation.
The statement, however, noted that only persons on essential services are allowed to remain on duty for now.
The statement read in part: “The Oyo State civil service will shut down for two weeks from, Friday, March 27, 2020. Only workers rendering essential services will be required to report for duty.
“We still have one confirmed case of Coronavirus in Oyo State, the Bodija case, who is receiving treatment at the isolation centre – the Agbami Chest Centre, Jericho, Ibadan.
“Additional numbers have been added to the Emergency Operations Centre’s Helplines. Please call these numbers for any issue related to Coronavirus: 08095394000 / 08095963000 / 08078288999 / 08078288800
“The returnee from the USA in Oluyole Local Government Area is still asymptomatic. She has completed her 14-day self-isolation period (March 8-22).
“New guidelines on public transportation have been issued by the Ministry of Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation to ensure proper hygienic standards and social distancing.
“All transport operators and park managers are to provide at the entrance of their respective parks/garages, hand washing facilities with soap and running water. They are to provide alcohol-based sanitizers in their vehicles for the use of drivers, conductors and passengers. Standing is prohibited in public mass transit buses and there must be a minimum of one seat interval between passengers. Tricycles are limited to three passengers and commercial motorcycles are limited to one passenger only.
“Enlightenment campaigns on Coronavirus in English and Yoruba have commenced in the media. Street to street public announcements using megaphones have commenced in the rural areas.
“We have received reports of a few private schools flouting the directive for closure of schools. A task force from SUBEB, TESCOM and the Ministry of Education have been authorised to take appropriate action against any school flouting this directive.
“Any school acting in breach of the directive can be reported by calling the Emergency Operations Centre Helplines; 08095394000 / 08095963000 / 08078288999 / 08078288800.”
According to the statement, the directive to shut down the state and local government secretariats was coming on the heels earlier directives to close the schools and the ban religious and social gatherings.
The statement added that a team of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was already in the State to support activities aimed at containing the virus by the government.
It noted that the government has put in place all precautionary measures needed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the good people of Oyo State.
The statement also added that a number of those who have had contact with the index case were already in self-isolation.
According to the statement, Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force Enforcement Team and a number of sub-committees have been put in place, while an enforcement committee flagged off activities on Wednesday.
It stated that the surveillance and contact-tracing of some persons who recently returned to Nigerian from different Coronavirus-infected countries have been ongoing, while those who have been tracked are being closely monitored.
The statement further read: “Our Emergency Operation Centre is already fully operational. It will interest the public to know that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has already sent a team of experts that is working in collaboration with our technical team on COVID-19. The area of collaboration covers training as well as the immediate setting up of a Diagnostic Centre that will make testing less stressful while at the same time eliminating the time length between sample collection and results.
“I am also pleased to tell our people that the NCDC team has completed training for our officials who will man the Diagnostic Centre and that the Centre would be ready for NCDC certification by the end of the week.
“Some persons would want to question why we are spending big to put up a Diagnostic Centre. The time lag between the collection of samples and receipt of results make the setting up of the Centre imperative. The experience we have with the index case appears almost frustrating as the sample took hours before getting to the National Reference Centre in Lagos.
“When the Diagnostic Centre is eventually set up, it will make a huge impact in the health infrastructure in place for the management and containment of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Oyo State.”
The statement also indicated that besides locking down the State Secretariat and local governments in the state, the COVID-19 Task Force and other sub-committees have commenced engagement and sensitisation drives around the markets, motor parks and mechanic workshops.
“They are also engaging with other artisans and the message is simple; it is only when you are alive that you can ply your trade or make money,” the statement added.
The statement indicated that the government thanked the management of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, the NCDC and other Nigerians who have positively collaborated with the state government to combat the virus.
The statement, however, admonished residents of the state to stop making frivolous calls to the Emergency Operating Centre, adding that people should only call the centre when they have genuine and serious cases.