My good people of Ondo state
1. I received the cheery news Last Friday April 17th 2020, from our Honourable commissioner for Health and Chairman Inter – ministerial Committee on COVID – 19, that our first and index case of Corona virus infection in the state has tested negative twice after treatment.
2. What this means is that the first patient of the viral infection is now completely healed and free to go home, indeed free to resume his normal life in service to our country.
3. It is important to inform us all that upon presenting with the symptoms of the infection while in quarantine, the first sample from this Army officer was taken at the Nigerian Army Barracks, Akure on the 2nd of April 2020 and sent for test to ascertain his status. The result came out positive on 3rd of April and he was immediately admitted into the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) at Igbatoro road Akure. He was on admission in the Hospital where he received the very best care until we noticed improvement in his health.
4. On the 12th of April, the first follow up sample was taken as part of the medical review of the patient. The result came out negative on the 13th April.
5. Not satisfied and in full compliance with the standard procedure of COVID – 19 medical review, the second sample was taken on the Thursday 16th April 2020 and the result came out again as negative. Due to the two consecutive negative results and his stable clinical condition, the patient was hereby declared fit for discharge. This is in line with the standard COVID -19 patient discharge criteria.
6. Dear people, you will agree with me that this is good and inspiring news. It is evidence of our preparedness, competence and determination to fight this pandemic and protect our people to our very best ability. There are two other cases undergoing same intensive treatment and care. I have been briefed that the first test result of one of them has returned negative. We await the second result. By the grace of God almighty, they will both be well also.
7. In all, I am happy to inform you that twenty–two follow up cases who had contact with the index and secondary cases have also tested negative.
8. Let me use this opportunity to thank the Brigade Commander of the 32 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Z L Abubakar for his total cooperation and support. The Brigade headquarters provided an exceptional relationship that made access and administration of the patient and all known contacts in the Barracks possible.
9. As at yesterday Sunday the 19th April 2020, the total number of COVID – 19 confirmed cases in Nigeria was 627. This was against the earlier figure of 542recorded the previous day Saturday 18thand 493 for Friday the 17th April 2020.
10. Meanwhile in the Southwest region of our Country, the figure is also rising, though the number of successfully treated and discharged patients is also increasing due to serious attention and quality healthcare facility invested by the state governments.
11. It is clear that COVID – 19 is growing at an exponential rate in Nigeria. This is unfortunate and disturbing. It is also unacceptable.
12. Concerns about this spread and expansion have dominated conversations among the Governors of the southwest region. In all our reviews, the key indicators of the undesirable growth of COVID-19, which also constitute a great threat to our remedial efforts are: low level of compliance with the directives on social distancing as well as the interstate movement of people, goods and vehicles.
13. To address these concerns, all the six Governors’ of Southwest states of Nigeria have adopted a joint additional protocol of control of the spread of the pandemic. These are
I. The immediate closure of all the Entry Points of our six states.
II. The compulsory wearing of nose masks by everyone coming out of their homes effective from Friday 24th April, 2020.
III. That people involved in essential services or dealing in medicine, water and consumable items, in particular traders and market men/women should also wear nose masks while outside plying their trade.
14. Let me make a few clarifications about this. It simply means, the six states are cooperating to make sure that inter-state movement of human beings and non-essential goods are halted in order to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
15. In simple terms, individuals who violate or disobey the interstate travel ban by attempting to cross the border of one state to the other in the South-western part of Nigeria will be arrested and liable to be prosecuted.
16. Similarly, it will be a serious breach of the COVID – 19 precautionary measure for any individual starting from Friday 24th April 2020, not to wear the nosemask while outside his/her place of abode or out on the street or anywhere within the society.
17. In order words, the moment you step out of your home to the streets of Ondo state, you must wear your face mask. The intention of this is to reduce contamination and infection and possibly avoid community transmission.
18. I wish to emphasise that Ondo state Government will implement these decisions effectively and efficiently. However, to ensure that the mandatory wearing of mask in Ondo state is achieved fully and with sizeable success, I have directed a massive production of face mask for all our citizens. I have also constituted a committee to supervise the production and distribution of same to the public throughout the state, from urban centres to our rural communities.
19. May we therefore use this opportunity to appeal to our people to take these directives very seriously to avoid the undesirable spread of this deadly disease among us. If we work together on these simple and easy instructions, we will defeat this mortal enemy. If we avoid shaking hands, sitting close to one another, hugging as well as other forms of social and physical contact that make it possible for the Virus to be transmitted, we will save our own lives and the lives of ourfamily and dear ones. We must continue to wash our hands regularly and thoroughly using water and soap and hand sanitizer.
20. Already the daily curfew which we pronounced seven days ago appearseffective and is helping us to close some of the gaps in respect of social and physical distancing protocols.
21. My dear people of Ondo state, we are taking these very necessary decisions knowing full well it will disrupt the livelihoods and daily activities of all of us and our communities in general. However, such sacrifices are needed to limit the spread of COVID-19, in order to preserve lives and protect our families and our loved ones.
22. We began the release of palliatives to citizens, particularly the vulnerable ones across the state last week. From reports so far, the reliefs are touching the lives for which they are meant. We could do more and we will do more indeed. As is our practice, may I seize this opportunity once again to express Ondo State’s debt of gratitude to the public-spirited individuals, the business community, volunteers, private and corporate donors to this worthy cause, for their selfless efforts and great sacrifice during these times.
23. I must again thank the Inter – ministerial committee, the palliative committee, fund mobilisation committee and our health workers in all our health facilities. I also express our deep appreciation to the officers manning our Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) and the state entry points, for their rare dedication, vigilance, sacrifice and commitment.
24. Let me also thank the security agencies in the state for their vigilance and enforcement of the movement restriction order currently in place. I am not unaware that a few citizens have had some rough experiences with the security agencies in the course of the enforcement of the curfew. The state Government wishes to apologise to the concerned individual while promising that appropriate efforts are being taken to prevent further occurrences.
25. Finally, as we observe all the laid down precautionary regulations against COVID – 19, let us not forget to continue in prayers. I believe in the capacity and benevolence of God Almighty to rescue His people from plagues and infections. Let us take all necessary actions now.
26. I thank you all for listening and may God bless Ondo State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.