Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, on Friday, March 20 has ordered the closure of public and private schools in the state indefinitely as measures in preventing the spread of coronavirus disease in the state.
The affected institutions include tertiary, secondary and primary schools.
Mr Fayemi said that the closure of schools and other public gathering places take effect from Monday, March 23, 2020.
The governor also banned all forms of gathering involving 30 people and above as part of the preventive measures against the pandemic.
According to the governor, the measures became imperative given the strategic location of the state which serves as transit point for travellers connecting various parts of the federation.
The governor urged citizens of the state to be cautious and observe high level personal hygiene practice such as constant hand washing with soap and hand sanitizers as well as observance of social distancing.
As part of its preparedness, the state government has set up an isolation centre in Ado Ekiti, the state capital and an Emergency Response Team has been constituted too.
At the moment, sensitisation and awareness are being created on the disease through the media as well as in parks, markets and community levels.
The government also provided the following emergency telephone numbers for rapid response: 09062970434, 09062970435, 09062970436.
Read the full statement by Governor Fayemi
Being Text of the Address by:
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON
Governor of Ekiti State
On the Covid-19 Incidence in Ekiti State
March 20, 2020 Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria
‘Ekiti shall be COVID-19 free.’
1. On March 18 2020, we recorded an incidence of a Nigerian male, 38 years old, of Ekiti origin resident in Ibadan, who tested positive to Covid-19. The confirmed case came into close contact with a 27 year old Male, American, who was visiting Nigeria from Richmond, Virginia, USA, in the company of his caregiver, a Nigerian female Age 31, of Ekiti Origin, while conveying them around their holiday destinations.
2. The American male and his Nigerian female caregiver, arrived Nigeria on 3rd March 2020 through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos and were confirmed to have stayed for 10 days in Ibadan Oyo State before arriving Ado Ekiti on 13th March, 2020. A day after their arrival, the American male fell ill and he was taken to a private hospital where he was referred to a tertiary hospital. Unfortunately, he died from complications of his illness according to the Medical report rendered.
3. The State Taskforce on COVID-19 was alerted and samples were taken from the American male as well as his two companions. The test for the male chauffeur came back positive; the test for the female caregiver came back negative while the test for the American male was inconclusive. The State team has taken fresh samples from the female caregiver and the male driver to repeat the test at the NCDC designated laboratory.
4. In line with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) protocols, the Ekiti State Taskforce on Covid-19 has already quarantined the confirmed case on admission in the State Isolation Centre, while the caregiver who tested negative, is presently under observation in self isolation.
5. While the result of the American male came back inconclusive, the NCDC protocol dictates that an inconclusive result must be handled as positive. We have therefore taken the necessary precautions and approvals related to burials and disposal of such bodies.
6. In the past 24 hours, the Ekiti State Covid-19 Taskforce has taken the following actions in our case management protocol:
We have made contact with the United States Embassy to brief them on the demise of their citizen. We have also spoken with the mother of the deceased to empathize with the family and are working with the Embassy and the family on the burial arrangements of their loved one.
Our contact tracing team have identified 42 direct and indirect contacts of this imported Ekiti index case, most of whom came in contact with him in the process of managing the illness which took him to hospital. None of the contacts show any symptoms and are all being observed under self-isolation. In the next 14 days, their samples will be collected and sent to NCDC for testing and we will update the public on the results and any further developments as we receive them.
The Ekiti State Isolation Centre has been activated since the confirmation of the positive case who is currently on admission there, though he is very stable and showing no symptoms as at this morning. Basic amenities to make the stay comfortable has been provided and medical equipment that may be needed for the symptomatic management of positive cases are being provided.
For seamless coordination with federal structures, I held meetings with the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu and the Coordinator of COVID-19 Response for Nigeria, Dr Sanni Aliyu, to brief them on the Ekiti index case and our preparedness, capacity and requirements to successfully contain the spread of the virus. The meetings were also to ensure a coordinated national response at the level of the Nigeria Governors Forum; especially for states contiguous to Ekiti. I also met with the Directors of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the Dangote Foundation to solicit their support in our effort to contain this global pandemic.
WHO and UNICEF teams arrived Ekiti and are collaborating with Ekiti State by providing the Taskforce with technical support needed to ensure a thorough contact tracing and case management process. We are also getting adequate support from the NCDC on appropriate sampling and laboratory services (a team is expected to arrive Ekiti to join the other partners in boosting our case management capacity)
7. Ekiti-kete, our resolve to respond promptly to this global pandemic as a state, gave birth to a 40-person Taskforce on 2nd March, 2020, few days after the index case in Nigeria was identified in Ogun State. Our first strategy in preparedness was sensitizing all relevant sectors, especially our medical and health practitioners. Appreciably, the concerned health practitioners were able to make use of the appropriate framework to alert the State Taskforce when they suspected an infection in the patient. By their commitment and dedication to service, they succeeded in alerting us to the presence of an invisible, stealth, silent but very deadly enemy in our peaceful state.
8. We are very grateful to our medical practitioners for being a very efficient and selfless first line of defense against a global scourge. I want to specially recognize and thank the medical team at the tertiary hospital who did everything professionally possible to save the life of our index case, albeit futile, and who are now in self isolation as part of the contact tracing protocol.
9. COVID-19 is most deadly because of its ability to pass silently from one infected person to others through virus-laden droplets of bodily fluids for up to 21 days, before showing any symptom. It has been proven that one infected person can transfer the virus to up to four hundred and six (406) people within 30 days and to one hundred and sixty four thousand (164,836) people in 60 days! That is why it must be contained, and urgently too!
10. Now that we are aware of its presence in our midst, we must leave no stone unturned to make Ekiti State COVID-19 free. We must combat and curtail its spread by ensuring our people are actively involved in government’s efforts to fight this global pandemic. While the world frantically search for a cure, our best and only defense is prevention.
11. Therefore, to prevent its capacity for exponential transfer in Ekiti State, we must enforce all preventive measures as advised by NCDC, especially social distancing and hand washing in an aggressive and well-coordinated manner. To this effect, I hereby direct the following:
All public and private schools and institutions in Ekiti State are to close down from Monday 23rd March 2020
All public gatherings of more than 20 persons are prohibited from today Friday 20th March 2020. These include: religious gatherings e.g. worship and prayer services, night vigils, house fellowships and Nasfat meetings; social gatherings e.g. burials, weddings, family meetings and parties of any kind; political gatherings, e.g. rallies, congresses, ward meetings; night clubs, bars, beer joints, NYSC CDS meetings etc.
All non-essential workers in private and public sectors are encouraged to work from home from Monday 23rd March 2020. These include civil and public servants from level 12 and below; except essential services like health workers, caregivers, social welfare officers, fire service officers, emergency response officers, and securityguards/ watchmen in public institutions. Government officials are advised to keep their phone lines open as they may be required to come to the office when needed.
No overloading of passengers in public transportation with effect from today. Commercial vehicles must ensure only one person is sitting in the front seat with the driver and not more than 3 passengers on a row in the backseat.
Okadas must carry only one passenger each to minimize close contact as much as possible.
Citizens must wash their hands regularly with liquid soap under running water multiple times every day to avoid virus transfer.
All public places must provide hand washing implements at the entrance and exit of their facility. A running tap with safe drainage or a Veronica bucket with running water and liquid soaps or hand sanitizers must be made available at motor parks, eateries, banks, shops, offices and any place with significant human traffic to encourage frequent hand washing.
Market men and women must practice hand washing under running water with liquid soap at least 6 times a day in their stalls. This is to minimize the transfer of virus picked up in the process of buying and selling. Citizens visiting markets must ensure they wash their hands with soap under running water as soon as they leave the market before they get home.
Unnecessary travels in and out of Ekiti State are hereby discouraged at this time. While we cannot totally shut down the state, we must minimize unnecessary traffic especially from out-of-state, so we can protect our citizens from further importation of the virus and also protect the rest of the country by minimizing the exportation of any virus which may be present in Ekiti State.
All directives are until further notice.
12. Ekiti-kete, while these measures may appear excessive, we cannot afford the spread of a debilitating virus like COVID-19 in Ekiti State. Apart from its alarming mortality rate, especially on senior citizens who constitute a significant part of our demography in Ekiti State, its capacity to destroy the economy of a community is very lethal. As someone has said, “the risk of doing too little is unimaginable, while the risk of doing too much, in this circumstance, is completely irrelevant.” It is thus safer to act excessively in abundance of caution, than to act inadequately and live with scary consequences.
13 From Monday 23rd March, 2020, the Ekiti Taskforce will give regular updates at 2:00 pm every 48 hours at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) Ministry of Health and Human Services, State Secretariat to keep the public informed of new developments and the actions we are taking to make Ekiti State safe and COVID-19 free.
14. I strongly appeal to residents to continue to take self-preventive measures by washing their hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizers; covering their mouth with disposable tissue or into their curved elbow when coughing or sneezing; observing social distancing by avoiding crowded gatherings and to alert the authorities of any suspected case by calling the 112 Emergency Number or 09062970434, 09062970435, 09062970436.
15. Though this may appear daunting, I encourage you all to keep faith, take all necessary preventive actions to protect yourselves and families, and avoid rumors and misinformation especially on social media. We are renowned for being a resilient people and together, with God on our side, we can fight, beat and banish this COVID-19 pandemic from Ekiti State … but the containment begins with you and me.
Alale Ekiti a ja fun wa o.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON
Governor, Ekiti State, Nigeria.
March 20, 2020