Thank you for accepting our invitation to be part of this press conference.
As I promised in my press statement yesterday, we just finished holding the first meeting of the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force. But before I share the outcome of that meeting with you, let me quickly clarify some issues regarding the circumstances that led to the setting up of this task force.
One question a lot of people may have on their minds is: Why are you just setting up a Task Force? This Task Force became necessary because of the heightened threat that has come to light in the past two days. These developments include an increase in confirmed cases of coronavirus in Nigeria since March 18, 2020. This necessitated something more regarding the state’s response.
Before now, the Ministry of Health had already put measures in place to prevent an outbreak of coronavirus in the state. Our Commissioner for Health, Dr B. V. A. Bello, held his first press briefing on February 28, 2020, where he outlined the steps being taken by the government. On March 10, 2020, he held another press briefing after the Oyo State Executive Council (EXCO) meeting and talked about isolation centres, helplines, the creation of a rapid response and monitoring department, and disease surveillance and notification officers in the 33 LGAs and 35 LCDAs.
The Ministry of Health also started running enlightenment campaigns about coronavirus in markets, schools and for people in the hospitality industry, to maintain the hand washing culture and give a safe distance if anyone is sneezing or coughing around them. But with the identified case that reportedly transited through Ibadan to Ekiti State, we are stepping up those measures. So, let me tell you about our decisions after this first meeting.
- Emergency operation centre to be set up within 72 hours.
- Diagnostic Centre to be set up within 72 hours.
- Schools to be closed immediately until after Easter.
- The Maternal and Health Centre at Olodo has now been re-designated as the state infectious disease hospital.
- Two ambulances dedicated to coronavirus cases to be provided.
- The disease surveillance and notifications system in the 33 LGAs and 35 LCDAs created earlier will be activated.
- The Free Health Mission is hereby suspended.
- The ongoing employee verification is suspended.
- We will increase our enlightenment campaigns.
- Wash centres will be provided in markets and public places.
- Personal protective gear will be provided for our health workers through emergency purchases.
Before I take questions, let me state that we are committed to the prevention, containment and control of the novel Coronavirus Disease in Oyo State. We will be giving you daily updates on what we are doing in Oyo State. As Head of the Task Force and Head of the Oyo State Government, I give you my word that we are going to do everything in our power to see that no life is lost to this pandemic.
Some people may still be upset about the rally that was held here a few days ago. And I want to state again that if the information we have at our disposal now had come a few hours prior, the rally would not have held. I’ll take questions now.