By Victor Ogunje
Schools and other religious centres in Ekiti State are to remain closed as the state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, yesterday relaxed the lockdown imposed on the state to contain the spread of COVID-19.
However, with effect from today, residents of the state would have the opportunities to pursue their businesses through Friday from 6a.m. to 8p.m.
Fayemi, who disclosed this in a state-wide broadcast, also revealed that consultations are underway to reopen religious worship centres, schools and big markets in the state.
Also, with effect from today, public officers on Grade Level eight and above are to resume for duty while those on Grade Level seven and below are to remain at home till further notice.
The governor also stressed that the dusk-to-dawn curfew would resume daily from 8p.m. till 5.59 a.m.
Fayemi urged residents to give maximum support to the medical experts conducting the tests as modalities have been devised to ensure a seamless exercise.
According to him, “I therefore urge you to willingly submit yourselves for testing when the officials get to your neighborhood.
“This also provides an opportunity for those who might have had symptoms associated with the COVID-19 to freely come out for testing at no cost to them.”
The governor in the broadcast also reiterated his earlier order that all the state boundaries would be completely locked down daily pending further review at the national level.
Speaking on the likelihood of resumption of public worship, Fayemi promised that religious centres will reopen “very soon,” revealing that a committee will soon engage with religious organisations to fashion out a workable protocol.
The workable protocol, he said, would enable religious houses to reopen very soon without jeopardising the lives and health of worshippers.
On the fate of schools in the state, the Fayemi explained that efforts to reopen them are also ongoing, “as the committee set up to appraise the protocols, resources, conditions and modalities for reopening has concluded its work.”
He also said the government was considering reopening major markets to permanent shop owners, after the outcome of the engagement process that is ongoing on the relocation of roadside traders to available alternatives.
The reopening of the major markets, the governor said, would be subject to compliance with specific conditions and protocols that are being determined.
On when the state will totally open up its economy, Fayemi said: “Once the report of the random testing shows that we are safe generally, it would further give fillip to our confidence to fully open up our state and return to our normal way of life.”
Fayemi disclosed that the state has so far recorded 20 cases in all with 16 of the patients successfully treated and discharged with only two active cases left at the state isolation centre while two cases were lost.