PRESS BRIEFING BY THE HEAD OF THE OYO STATE COVID-19 TASK FORCE ON APRIL 17, 2020

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Yesterday, the COVID-19 confirmation test for two suspected cases came back positive. One of the two cases, is from Yemetu and the other is a returnee from the United States who is based in Ikolaba. During the COVID-19 Task Force meeting today, we were informed that two more tests came back positive. So, we have four new cases from the tests being conducted at Adamasingba Stadium. This brings the number of active cases in Oyo State to seven.

It has been our aspiration to test a lot more people and we think as we do this mass testing, we can see the pattern of the virus within our environment and from those results, we can implement appropriate measures designed to deal with the situation.

While the 100-bed Infectious Disease Centre at Olodo is ready to receive cases, we are already upgrading the isolation centre at LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso. The Maternal and Child Health Centre, Saki is also being converted to an isolation centre. The General Hospital at Igbo-Ora is being evaluated for a section of it to be used as an isolation centre.

As I stated at an earlier interview, one of the measures we considered to prevent, contain and control the spread of COVID-19 in Oyo State is the compulsory use of face masks in public. Today, we reached a decision to implement this measure. The Oyo State Government will produce an initial one million cloth face masks to kick start the mask in public places policy for Oyo State. 100 tailors will be commissioned by Monday, the 20th of April, 2020 to make 10,000 face masks each. We are collaborating with experts who have already designed these face masks to train the tailors on how to make them.

The results we are receiving from Adamasingba Stadium has made us move the resumption at the State Secretariat forward to Monday, the 27th of April 2020. This is subject to further evaluation based on our circumstances closer to that time.

Food security is a major issue which we have to address. This is planting season and we want to ensure that our farmers are able to farm. So, we are ramping up on enlightenment of the farmers on how best to remain safe during the planting season. We are also collaborating with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IART) to get seedlings for the farmers so that they don’t miss the planting season.

We are still working on palliatives; we now have the data and we are sure that we have been able to identify the poorest of the poor in our environment. Palliatives will be distributed by the end of next week. We want to ensure that the palliatives get to those who actually need them.

Let me use this opportunity to thank our health workers. This government will continue to make their welfare our priority and ensure that they are adequately protected as they remain on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19 in Oyo State.

I also thank members of the press for the balanced reporting of the activities of the Oyo State Government as we do everything humanly possible to contain the spread of COVID-19 in our state.