Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State yesterday said the state government had acquired 19 ventilators, monitors and other critical equipment for the management of COVID-19 cases if it occurred in the state.
Okowa disclosed this in radio and television broadcast on the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, in Asaba.
He announced that public gatherings, including burials, weddings, conferences and seminars, with over 20 persons in attendance should be suspended immediately.
According to him, the ban is part of measures being put in place by the state government to protect the people from contracting the deadly coronavirus which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The governor also directed that civil servants from Grade Level 1-12 should stay at home till further notice, and also suspended the application of Biometric system for daily attendance of workers to work in the state till further notice.
He, however, stated that workers on essential services were exempt from the order, and urged Deltans to avoid non-essential travels in and outside the state.
“My Dear Deltans, for the second time in one week, I am addressing you on the coronavirus pandemic.
“As at 2 p.m. today, 24th March, 2020, the Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed 42 cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. While there is no case confirmed in Delta, we must take some precautionary measures to prevent, as well as limit infection, if it occurs.
“The Multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by NCDC has activated its national Emergency Operation Centre, and they are working closely with State Health authorities.
“I wish to urge all Deltans to adhere strictly to the following precautionary measures:
“Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 – 60 seconds and use alcohol-based Sanitisers.
“Social Distancing: maintain at least two metres (six feet) between yourself and anyone, especially those coughing or sneezing.
“My dear Deltans, in the spirit of love for one another, any one of us who has recently returned from high- risk countries such as China, USA, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, UK, Iran, South Korea and Japan, must self-isolate from friends, family and others for minimum of 14 days.
“ All, who have had close contact with those who visited these high incidence countries are also advised to self-isolate for the same period.
“On our part, we have taken certain steps to mitigate the impact if and when cases are detected in our State; a Multi-sectoral Committee has been put in place and the State Emergency Operation Centre activated.
“Health staff have been selected and trained adequately, and the State Government has completed a purpose-built Isolation Centre at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba. The centre is ready for use.
“Three other Centres at the now completed Central Hospital, Asaba; Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara and Central Hospital, Warri, are being prepared as additional centres.
“To protect healthcare personnel and increase capacity, Personal Protective Equipment for health staff are in stock and we have continued to scout for more.
“The State Government has also packaged incentives for critical health staff who will be engaged in COVID-19 treatment and management.
“In the last 48 hours, we have paid for and taken delivery of 19 Ventilators and a good number of Monitors for use by our medical staff.
“Other critical needs, including Dialysis machines, dedicated for COVID-19 case management will be installed.
“I urge Deltans not to panic, but we must all commit to best behaviours by keeping to the advice of the NCDC and state officials.
“Please do not spread false information on social media, as it will do us no good,’’ he stated.
okowa added that “all institutions of learning – Primary, Secondary and Tertiary – are to close for a period of 30 days at the end of school hours on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020.
“Malls, supermarkets, restaurants, banks, hotels and bars must, in addition to providing Sanitizers at various entry points, ensure social distancing by allowing only few persons at a time.
“Market leaders are to ensure that Sanitizers are provided at all entry points to the markets. Failure to do this will attract sanction from the Government.
“All night clubs/lounges and cinemas are to be closed forthwith, while all burials and social events must be low-key, not attracting crowds of more than 20 persons or be put off indefinitely.
“Security agencies will be directed to enforce this henceforth. Social distancing must be complied with.’’
He announced that the State Government would immediately convene a meeting with religious bodies and their leaders to take far-reaching decisions on worshipping.
The governor, however, said all crusades and conferences must be suspended for now.
He directed all local government council chairmen to urgently meet with traditional rulers and opinion leaders in their domains to partner the State in carrying out the advocacy to curtail the spread of the infection.
Okowa further directed that henceforth buses and taxis must provide hand sanitzers for travellers, adding that all town union gatherings or youth conferences/gatherings were prohibited until further notice.
“All political gatherings and conferences, summits and gatherings involving more than 20 persons are banned until further notice.
“Together and with God on our side, we shall overcome this plague,” he added.