Like every other states of Nigeria affected by the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic, the Oyo State Government is responding quite well to the challenges at hand. The state’s governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde is not leaving anything to chances in the fight against COVID-19.
The Governor himself is a survivor of the deadly disease. He had tested positive to the virus and had since fully recovered from it. So taking the Coronavirus crisis with levity is out of it. How then is the governor handling Coronavirus in his state, to curb the spread of the deadly disease?
Though as at 19th March, 2020, Oyo State has no record of Coronavirus, as officially declared by the State’s Commisoner for Health, Dr. Bashir Bello. But the first preventive measures put in place by Governor SeyiMakinde, to prepare ahead of any eventualities, include deployment of resources to boost facilities and settling in motion contact tracing of any individual who was said to have had contact with a suspected victim of Coronavirus who has transited from Ibadan to Ekiti.
The individual was eventually traced and his results came out negetive.
Despite this development however, Governor Makinde didn’t sit and watch he went ahead to set up and activate a Surveillance and Contact Tracing system across the 68 local governments and local community development areas. Under the name, Disease Surveillance me Notifications Officers (DSNO). Some numbers (08038210122, 07032067763, 08023229267, and 08073431342) tagged as emergency contacts to call in case of symptoms-related to Coronavirus were also rolled out.
By March 21st, 2020, there was still no case of Coronavirus in Oyo State, but having studied the situation and realising that more measures were needed to be put in place, in order to forestall likely occurrences, Governor Makinde made yet another announcement. Declaring emergency and closing all schools across the state.
Not only that the schools were shut, Emergency Operation and Diagnostic centres were set up. 24/7 operation at the centres commenced March 22nd, 2020. This was followed by inauguration of Incident Manager in person of Dr. TaiwoLadipo of the Ministry of Health, who has since been saddled with responsibility of overseeing the Operating Centres.
Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force headed by the governor himself was also inaugurated. The Maternal and Paediatric Centre, Olodo, Ibadan was also re-designated as the State’s Infectious Disease Hospital and two ambulances dedicated to COVID-19 while the Agbami Chest Centre, Jericho, Ibadan was also converted to an isolation centre. Such isolation centres are also at Ogbomoso and Saki.
By 25th of March, the governor directed that civil servants and public servants should stay off work for two weeks, starting from 27th March. Only those who are on essential services were left out of the order. All these are aside Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration many awareness and campaigns against the deadly Coronavirus.
The State’s governerment is doing a great job by making sure everyone in the state comply with the outlined preventive measures released by health experts. Transport operators and park managers in the state have been directed to provide at the entrance of their respective parks and garages hand washing facilities with soap and running water.
They are also to provide alcohol-based sanitizers in the vehicles for the drivers and passengers. Standing in public mass transit buses are now prohibited and there must be minimum of one seat interval between passengers. Tricycles are limited to three passengers and commercial motorcycles are limited to one passenger.
Enlightenment campaigns on Coronavirus in both English and Yoruba is seriously going in the media. while street to street public announcementes are also in place.
All these measures, according to Governor Seyi Makinde, are the best options for the state now, as he prefers them to a total lockdown. The Governor believes total lockdown would cause more havocs on the already paralyzed economy of the state. As a larger percentage of the citizens of the state survive on their day-to-days businesses.
Also in its efforts to combat the Coronavirus menace, the Oyo State Government is working in collaboration with the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan now there are over 100 bed facility in Ibadan which can accommodate Coronavirus patients in case there is a need for it.
To enable them fight Coronavirus to a stand still, the government has also come up with COVID-19 Endowment Fund, as governerment alone cannot do it. It must also be noted that the establishment of COVID-19 regulation is underway.
The Bill tagged: ‘Oyo State Coronavirus Disease Emergency Prevention-Regulation of 2020 will anytime from now become law as soon as the Governor appends his signature.
There is no doubt in the fact that this, indeed, is a trying time for Oyo State, Nigeria and the world at large. Many businesses as well as economy of most states have been paralyzed, as the whole world is on compulsory holiday with the Coronavirus pandemic.
It is also arguably a fact that Oyo State has the third highest numbers of cases of Coronavirus patients, after Lagos and Abuja. In fact, as at the time of filling this report, the state has eleven cases. Two out of which have fully recovered and discharged reducing the active cases of the disease to nine.