COVID 19: EKSG May Reopen Worship Centres July 17

Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti state and NGF chairman
Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti state and NGF chairman

All things being equal, worship centres in Ekiti State may resume for services as from Friday, July 17th. This is in line with the agreement reached by the State Government with leaders of religious organisations in the State.

Governor Kayode Fayemi who disclosed this on Tuesday in a state-wide broadcast on the next stage in the State’s COVID-19 Response, said arrangements are in top gear to ensure that pupils and students return to school from July 20, as recommended by stakeholders in the education sector.

The two largest markets in Ado Ekiti, the Oja Oba and Oja Bisi, according to the Governor, will now be open to lock-up shops only, subject to compliance with protocols stressing that street trading, makeshift stalls, kiosks, and open display of wares in the said markets remain banned.

The Governor also announced that the State Government has taken a N2.5 billion Life Insurance cover of N2 million each for 500 frontline medical personnel involved in COVID-19 assignment, in addition to the prompt payment of COVID-19 special allowances to qualified cadres.

Apparently disturbed by the increasing refusal of residents to wear face masks in public, which he said could spike community transmission of the disease, Dr. Fayemi informed that security agencies and the Ministry of Justice, have been directed to arrest and prosecute any person caught in public places without wearing the face mask appropriately, covering the nose, mouth and chin.

Expatiating on the conditions to be met before public worship resumes from Friday, July 17 with Jumat service for Muslims and Christian worship in churches from Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, Dr. Fayemi said social distancing of six feet must be observed, and hand washing as well as use of face masks are compulsory. The Governor added that the maximum capacity for each building should be determined with the six feet social distancing principle, adding that the number must be conspicuously displayed outside the building. Besides, the Governor explained that a Task Force will go round to assess the level of compliance, and issue a Certificate of Readiness before worship centres can reopen. He added that any worship centre that violates the laid down protocols will be shut down and the cleric prosecuted.

Dr. Fayemi disclosed that school resumption from July 20 will be in phases, starting with students in terminal classes (SS3, JSS3 and Primary 6) to prepare for their exams, while other classes will be gradually absorbed as schools meet all requirements to accommodate them.

He stressed that a Certificate of Readiness showing that a school has adhered to all conditions required for school reopening will be issued to all schools before they can reopen, while government will ensure that water, sanitizers, soap, and other facilities are in place. The Governor stated further, that he had directed that all schools be fumigated and kept safe for students before they reopen.

Speaking further on resumption of business activities at Oja Oba and Oja Bisi markets, the Governor stressed that the use of face masks and social distancing will be strictly enforced, while traders who do not have permanent shops in the two markets are to move to Awedele Market where more stalls have been prepared.

He stated that the ban on large gatherings of more than 20 persons except on approved worship days continues, adding that social, political or business gatherings like parties, burials, meetings, bars, viewing centres, sports meets must not exceed 20 persons, and must be in line with COVID-19 protocols.

Related: Covid-19: Ekiti Govt Announces Commencement Of Molecular Lab Pilot Testing

Dr. Fayemi pointed out that free, unhindered movement will continue Monday to Friday from 6.00am to 8.00pm, while the dusk-to-dawn curfew will be enforced between 8.00pm to 5.59am, seven days a week.

There shall still be a restriction of movement on weekends (Saturday and Sunday), until July 19, subject to the conditional relaxation of church attendance on Saturdays and Sundays.

In a bid to improve citizens’ access to qualitative healthcare, the Governor disclosed that the Ekiti State Health Insurance Scheme (EKHIS) will take off on Wednesday, July 1 with over 5,000 citizens already enrolled, with the formal flag off scheduled for July 10.

Dr. Fayemi equally disclosed that the upgrade of the State’s primary healthcare facilities has begun, with the Primary Health Centre at Okeyinmi, Ado Ekiti, as the starting point, with the first stage covering nine facilities across some local government areas.
The goal, he said, is to upgrade at least one primary healthcare facility in all the 177 wards.

The Governor added that his administration is also undertaking additional construction work in Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital and Oba Adejugbe Infectious Disease Hospital both in Ado Ekiti. According to him, Government is also expanding the State medical facilities, to be able to respond more quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic, while another molecular laboratory is being planned, apart from an additional one secured by the Ekiti State University (EKSU) through Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

The Governor expressed concern that some residents are now avoiding hospitals for treatment of ailments that are not associated with COVID-19, because of the fear that they might be held down or could be infected.

Describing the trend as extremely dangerous, Dr. Fayemi advised the people of the State to patronise qualified health professionals, and not engage in self medication.

The Governor revealed that 567 persons have so far been tested, with 43 cases recorded. He said the State has 13 active cases, 28 patients discharged, while 2 deaths have been recorded.

Dr Fayemi said: “The acquisition of a laboratory was for us, a game changer in our strategy to combat the spread of the virus, as it would enable us to increase our testing capacity, especially to determine if we are already in the community spread stage of infection. Our laboratory has now been fully installed and functional, and we have increased testing in our communities.

“As at today, we have conducted additional 417 new tests and recorded 23 positive cases. In all, since we started combating COVID-19, Ekiti State has tested 567 persons and recorded 43 cases. Currently, we have 13 active cases, two deaths, while 28 patients have been successfully treated and discharged.

“Even though the 43 cases represent 6.7% of the total test conducted so far, and even though it could be said to be relatively low, it gives me a great concern that we have recorded this much and that in the month of June, many of the positive cases appear to have contracted the disease through community spread, as they could not be traced to any known cases. So, while our general risk assessment in comparison to other states is quite commendable, the implication of community spread is very grave.

“At this stage, the ball is now in our court. We must take adequate care, take personal responsibility, and ensure we keep safe. Every one of us must do whatever is within our power to ensure we jointly fight this dangerous virus to the end. No one needs to be persuaded again that the virus is real and here. We have seen many prominent personalities who could afford any medical care that money could buy, succumb to the virus. That is why we cannot afford to be complacent or fatalistic about it.”


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