It is my pleasure to address you on the state of things in regards to our collective fight against COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank you for your untiring cooperation in our joint effort to overcome of the pandemic.
As I indicated in my previous addresses, we have continued to be responsive in our management of the pandemic in line with the progress made and the general outlook of incidence in our State and the Country at large.
As you are aware, we work in collaboration with the Federal Government and other stakeholders in our fight to effectively combat this virus. Ekiti has also continued to be a model in the Country in terms of pro-activeness, creativity, responsiveness and effectiveness.
You would recall that in my last broadcast to you on COVID-19 update on September 13, 2020, I expressed the confidence of the State on the progress made and accordingly further relaxed the restrictions that we had to impose at the peak of the pandemic.
Consequently, we opened our educational and religious institutions for full resumption, while markets, event centres and other were also allowed to operate. I also indicated that we would continue to update you and respond appropriately as new developments unfolded.
As at the time we opened up our State to return to normalcy, we had acted on the steady decline that had occurred, not only in Ekiti here but also nationally. Regrettably, things have taken a new turn in the last two weeks which has now necessitated that I address you today on the state of things and the next line of action.
Ekiti Kete, the much dreaded second wave of the pandemic is here. As scientists and medical professionals had earlier forewarned based on the knowledge of the behaviour of viruses generally and coronavirus specifically, the initial strain of the virus which the world was almost surmounting has been said to have mutated into another strain which is believed to be more lethal and deadly as fatalities from the new variant has been sudden and many.
This new strain was first reported in the United Kingdom but latest report has indicated that the variant is now in Nigeria. It is for this reason that the presidential taskforce on COVID-19 headed by the Secretary to the Federal Government has announced new measures
In Ekiti here, as at two days ago, we had done a total of 7, 890 tests with 405 confirmed cases since the outbreak. We have about 30 active cases currently under treatment in our isolation center. One frightening fact about these figures however is that we have recorded about 15 cases out of about 170 tests conducted in the last one week. This is near 10% confirmed cases as against the less than 5% that we used to have at the beginning of the pandemic, earlier in the year.
Things were not this bad when we imposed strict restrictions on the State at the outset of the breakout of the pandemic in March. Government is therefore very disturbed with the rising figure and its implications on our fragile health facilities and economic wellbeing.
Consequently as a first measure to stem the tide, I have directed that public gathering should be minimised across the state in accordance with extant COVID-19 protocol.
We understand the importance of this season in our religious life as a people, we however must prioritise public health above other considerations; therefore, we expect churches to observe the service in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols such as hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, observation of the approved social distance and to allow only half of the sitting capacity of the church to partake in the service.
Churches and mosques are to enforce all the existing protocols and should return to only one service on Friday Saturday or Sunday as the case may be. Other weekly activities and congregational gatherings should be put on hold till further notice.
In addition, protocols regarding wedding and burial ceremonies remain in force. There should be no crowd in the church auditorium and burial services must be at the graveside only.
Supermarkets, event centres, hotels and bar owners are to strictly ensure that social distancing measures are put in place and followed accordingly.
Only half of the full sitting capacity of a facility can be allowed to participate in any ceremony/programme at any point and activities should not exceed 8pm.
Partying, clubbing and vigils are suspended indefinitely until further notice.
I have directed that all schools should remain closed till January 18; and
I have also directed that civil servants on grade level 12 and below, should in the meantime, stay at home till January 18 when they would be directed on when they could resume.
Government officials are to discourage in-person meetings as much as possible and no government official must been seen in the public without wearing facemasks.
Ekti Kete, to ensure that things do not snowball out of control, we have given strict instructions to the taskforce and law enforcement agents to begin aggressive compliance enforcement activities in public places, including worship centers, event centers, markets, supermarkets, bars and hotels. Government will not hesitate to close down any facility indefinitely, and to prosecute operators of any public places, flouting the protocols.
Finally, I urge you to keep safe on all fronts. We must not only keep safe in terms of COVID-19 prevention, we must also ensure that we drive safely as we join our families to celebrate the Yuletide. I urge you to celebrate responsibly and moderately. I wish you merry Christmas and happy New Year ahead.
May we all be alive to see the end of the year in peace and joy.
Thank you for listening.
Alale Ekiti a gbe a oo.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON
Governor, Ekiti State, Nigeria
Ado, Ekiti – Wednesday, December 23, 2020