It was announced that Governor Godwin Obaseki who has been in isolation for the past 14 days will personally lead the battle against coronavirus from today (Tuesday).
The Deputy Governor of the state, Mr Philip Shaibu, who addressed the press on the update on COVID-19 said the state governor was in good health condition and held meetings with traditional rulers and local chairmen via Skype.
He said worried by the cases, the state government had ordered the closure of all markets from 12 midnight of Tuesday (today) while the food section would be relocated to the field of nearby public primary or secondary schools.
According to him, the state government, which now has 234 contact tracing, had made the wearing of face masks mandatory for those moving out of their homes.
However, Shaibu maintained that anyone caught moving about without a face mask as a precautionary measure would be sanctioned.
“These measures were put in place to save residents of the state from contracting the disease. Information reaching the state government indicated that some returnees who are of Edo origin were using hotels to self-isolate. I want to say that henceforth, the state government has banned the use of hotels and homes for self isolation,” he said.
The deputy governor narrated how one of the 11 that tested positive reportedly took a public transport to Irrua Specialist Hospital instead of taking a taxi.
He said he was referred to the specialist hospital from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
“Only God knows how many people he has infected with the disease. And that is why we are tracing those who may have had contact with the man that tested positive. It may not be just his family members alone but those that boarded the same vehicle with him,” he said.
He advised anyone that suspected having symptoms of the disease should approach any of the four isolation centres located across the three senatorial districts of the state, including Stella Obasanjo Hospital, Benin City where the state has two isolation centres and one holding centre.
The deputy governor added that the state government had put in place a screening centre to receive anyone in the state for any ailment, noting that “COVID-19 is here with us, so everyone should join hands with us to fight the disease.”
Also speaking, representative of World Health Organisation, Mrs Faith Ireye, pointed out that samples from 61 persons indicated that 50 were negative while 11 were positive.
“I am very glad the state government has ordered that the markets be shut down from midnight of tomorrow (Tuesday) because anytime I pass through the market and see the way people are crowded, there is no self distancing. But from tomorrow, I think we will begin to have some relief.
“I want to inform us that from the confirmed cases in the contacts that we have seen whose specimen were taken to the laboratory, we found out that they walked into the virus. Let me talk about the last case whose two relations are positive. He got it from his two friends who came from Italy and the United Kingdom. The two have gone back but they left the virus with us. So, please self distancing is very important”.
“We have 11 cases and from that 11, we are tracing 234 contacts. Two weeks ago, it was just one, now we have 11. If we continue like this, by the middle of this month, we will be having 22,” she said.
She stated that social distancing and regular washing of hands were key to warding off the pandemic from spreading.