Governor Akeredolu of Ondo state has directed the closure of schools at primary, secondary and tertiary levels within the state, in reaction to the spread of the novel Coronavirus across the country and a suspected case in the state.
The governor in a state broadcast on Thursday also described as untrue, a report of death due to the disease in the state.
Below is the statement of the broadcast unedited:
My dear good people of Ondo state, as you are aware, the world is currently experiencing an outbreak of corona virus (COVID-19) infection. This is a highly infectious disease spreading all over the world.
The disease is easily transmitted from one person to another. Our country Nigeria has not been spared of this attack.
In the last few weeks, the fear of its presence in our country has been confirmed.
The major symptoms of this viral attack are fever, cough, sore throat, sneezing, runny nose and difficulty with breathing. Any individual with these symptoms especially those who have recently travelled to areas where there is a serious outbreak should embark on self-isolation for a minimum of 14 days.
Such individuals should also in the interest of our corporate existence, report in any of our healthcare facilities nearest to them or call any of our emergency lines that will be released for assistance if they develop any of the symptoms.
On our part, this administration had taken the following steps to ensure that the health system is ready to manage the situation effectively in collaboration with the federal government and our development partners. These steps include:
Equipping the state infectious disease hospital as a treatment center for the disease.
Upgrading the state disease surveillance network to be able to identify cases and ensure proper community surveillance
Roll out a sustained media campaign on the COVID-19 infection.
Ensure a seamless collaboration with federal government and other development partners
To further strengthen our capacity to respond effectively to this emergency, we have set up a high level inter-ministerial committee to coordinate state’s response to the COVID-19 challenge.
The committee which is chaired by the hon commissioner for health, has members cutting across relevant institutions and MDAS.
The main term of reference of this committee is to activate, coordinate and drive the state response protocols.
The committee will engage all stakeholders and explore all means possible to curtail the threat of covid-19.
In furtherance of this, we have also directed the closure of all primary and secondary schools as well tertiary institutions in the state as from Friday 20th, March, 2020 until further notice.
This measure is to harvest our children into the safety net for proper monitoring and care.
There is no doubt that this global pandemic poses a real challenge to all nations, yet if we all collaborate effectively, we will overcome it successfully.
One major advantage that our state has is the experience and expertise we have developed over the years from our fight against Lassa fever and other infections.
We believe this will place us in good stead at this critical period. It is therefore important for members of the public to remain calm, avoid panic and spreading of inaccurate information.
We therefore wish to use this opportunity to call on all residents of Ondo state to obey and observe the simple, time tested and internationally accepted precautionary measures to fight this debilitating virus.
We urge us all to fully embrace the hand washing exercise at every interval of our daily activities. We must avoid hand shaking and unnecessary social embrace.
We must reduce or where possible, postpone, until further notice, ceremonies and other social gatherings.
We urge us to avoid staying in overcrowded areas and avoid any unnecessary travels outside the state.
It is important we engage in improved self and family hygiene as well as mobilise our community service providers including traders, drivers, butchers, bank workers, health workers to make use of face mask to cover the mouth and the nose when engaging in their daily activities.
To ensure that all measures stated earlier are totally successful, we hereby task our community leaders, political leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, heads of educational institutions, Nigerian medical association, association of general medical practitioners and other health workers, leaders of traders association, women groups, youth groups, transport unions and others to urgently commence a deliberate and comprehensive mobilization of their members to observe these precautionary measures.
Please let us take these measures seriously so as to wage the war against corona virus together and win.
My dear people, contrary to the misinformation and mischief set to create panic among our people, I wish to stress that no death has been recorded in Ondo state on account of corona virus so far. The situation as at today is that a suspected case is under intense observation and comprehensive test.
This process of surveillance and management currently ongoing in this isolated case is part of the standard procedure in dealing with infectious disease outbreaks. We urge us to ignore the unauthorized and unconfirmed statements.
Every epoch in history comes with its own challenges. We believe this corona virus pandemic is another test of our resolve to preserve our existence, we will win by the grace of almighty god.
As I end this speech, let me reassure you again that Ondo state government will do everything and all things in its power, knowledge and capability to protect and preserve our well-being. It is our duty and commitment to ensure that Ondo state people live a healthy and fulfilled life.
I thank you and may God bless every resident of this state.