Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo on Saturday harped on the need to protect the elderly and persons in the state with underlined ailment who are vulnerable and mostly affected by the COVID-19.
Obaseki who made the call while briefing newsmen in Benin, said available data clearly showed that there was now large scale community spread of the virus.
“Even though persons who are aged 60 and above make up only five per cent of our population, over 50 per cent of the deaths recorded so far affects this category of people.
“This shows that COVID-19 has more fetal impact on the elderly and persons with underline ailments which result in their death.
“As a government, we are concerned about the exposure of the elderly population to this disease and we have resolved that these vulnerable people must be protected.
“We must now intensify protective measures such as wearing of face masks, hand washing and social distancing very strictly,” he said.
Obaseki also explained that the state epidemiologists with the assistance of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), had hinted that the pandemic would peak in Edo by end of June.
“Based on this, we decided to screen 500,000 and test 5,000 Edo people with the hope that the information gathered will help in tailoring our response.
“As at today, we have screened 4,404 and tested 4,344 Edo residents for COVID-19.
“From this exercise, we have recorded 518 confirmed cases, 130 recoveries and 27 deaths,” the governor added.
Obaseki also warned that the state would soon begin to publish the names of those refusing to isolate and receive treatment in government approved isolation centres in the state.
He noted that the state had issued a Gazette with guidelines on how political parties should conduct their activities and rallies in the forthcoming governorship elections in the state.
He also announced that the curfew and lockdown imposed in the state had been relaxed.
Obaseki said, “In line with the presidential taskforce on COVID-19 recommendations we are now going to commence gradual reopening of the state after the pandemic peaks in two or three weeks time.
“But immediately, the curfew which we imposed is now relaxed and will now commence from 10pm to 4am with effect from today.”
According to the governor, schools will remain closed while the government works with the Federal Ministry of Education to provide guidelines for phased reopening of schools, especially for the SS3 and JS3.
He said the state would also begin the gradual reopening of markets and worship centres with an appeal to them to ensure strict compliance with government directives on social distancing.
Obaseki commended the health workers and encouraged them to keep up the good works and promised to ensure their safety at all times.(NAN)