COVID-19 LOCKDOWN EXTENDED IN DELTA STATE FOR ANOTHER TWO WEEKS.
FULL TEXT OF GOV IFEANYI ARTHUR OKOWA’S BROADCAST ON TUESDAY 14TH APRIL, 2020.
*Stay At Home Order Extended For Another Period Of Two Weeks from Tuesday 14th April, 2020.
*Dusk To Dawn Curfew (7pm to 7am) For Two Weeks (14/Days) With Effect From Wednesday 15th April, 2020.
*Contact Tracing, Testing and Isolation of patients To Be Intensified.
*Foodstuffs And Other Palliatives To Be Distributed Along Federal Ward Channels To Vulnerable Deltans (and not restricted to party politics), To Cushion The Effects Of Stay At Home Order.
*Covid-19 Health Professionals and Nurses Shall Be Well Compensated In Terms Of Remuneration.
*Cash Donors Are Encouraged To Visit Sterling Bank, Zenith Bank and UBA Bank To Request For Covid-19 Palliatives Government Account Numbers And Deposit Their Cash Donations.
My dear Deltans, I want to appreciate you for the cooperation that you have given us in the last 14 days. We want to thank all who have cooperates with us but for the few who have had cause to disobey lawful orders and had to be apprehended by the law enforcement agents, I want to advise that ought not to be. However, for all those who have obeyed our stay-at-home order, we want to thank you and we want to let you know that it is for the interest of the general good of all Deltans and Nigerians as a whole.
You’ll recall that the lockdown order within the state started in the 1st of April, 2020. Two days before then, we had actually stopped entry into the state except for goods that are considered very essential. On the 7th of April we had our incident case of COVID-19 in Delta State, that was the seventh day of the lockdown. Three cases have thus far been identified in Delta State.
Unfortunately, we lost one of the cases and that case did present very late at our Ogahara centre and the patient had other ailments and that led to he death of the patient. In fact, the test result came out positive after the patient had passed away.
We want to assure you that we have continued to do contact tracing. 70 contacts have been identified, 46 of them have actually been reached and we are still doing out best to get the remaining 24. Some persons have been isolated in their homes or what we refer to as self-isolation that is when the officials involved have been able to get the satisfaction that such persons can truly be isolated in their homes.
But some other person’s that could not be isolated on their homes, they are currently being isolated in three different centres. We have 2 cases that are active; one is being managed at the Oghara centre i.e the Delta State University—we have created a center in that place, and one also is being managed at our Infectious Disease Centre at Asaba. Both persons are doing very well.
We have 4 treatement centres on the whole; the Infectious Disease Centre built by the Delta State Government at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, the Asaba Specialist Hospital which currently is our biggest centre, the Delta State University Teaching Hospital Oghara is the third and the centre at the Warri Central Hospital will come on stream fully, today. All these centres also have isolation facilities and we have tended to create the isolation centres in such a manner that people will not cross infect others. And that is why we are using the single room option for the isolation of suspected cases until they rest positive. We have 12 holding centers across the state and medical staff have been trained in all these holding centres.
I want to advise our people, that COVID-19 yes it is a viral illness that has continued to ravage the world, but it is not a death sentence. Many of the cases are mild and many of them will recover. As at today, we are aware that there are only 10 deaths in Nigeria even when we have 343 cases already confirmed in Nigeria. I therefore want to urge our people to avoid all forms of stigmatisation and the best cooperation we will have from the people will help those who may fall ill to truly identify themselves for the best interest of the people.
Anyone could be exposed, anyone could be infected, both the high and the low, the rich and the poor. So it is for all of us to continue to obey the rules and praying also that God will intervene in the situation in our State, in our nation and the world over. We want to reassure you that health personnel have been trained and they are very proactive. I want to use this opportunity to thank all our health staff which includes the doctors, the nurses, the laboratory scientists, the pharmacists and other health staff that have been trained. They are all in good spirits and are committed to their duties; I am glad and I am grateful to them.
Ambulance drivers and other auxiliary staff like cleaners, laundry men, and others have also been adequately trained and we have enough ambulances to be able to convey patients or cases that are suspected to isolation or treatment centres across the state.
I want to reassure that both our health staff and the auxiliary staff that they would be adequately remunerated in the course of their duty. We are working out the details, I had a teleconference meeting with my team yesterday and I assure that by the end of today we would be able to communicate to the health staff the amount of money that would be paid on a daily basis for the work that they do, we must appreciate them for their great work and commitment because they are in the line of duty for the good of each and every one of us.
The Delta state government has gone ahead to start production of face masks but this time the one made with a cloth, we are trying to produce a few hundreds or thousands of face masks and this face mask will be distributed free of charge to all Deltans. The good about the face mask is that it’s made of cloth so just as you wash your hands with soap and water, you can also wash the face mask on a daily basis with soap and water if you want to use it and you are going out and that will definitely reduce the risk of infection.
It is our hope that the distribution of the face mask will start by the end of this week and we would continue to distribute the face mask as much as as we able to produce.
We have also put in place a food bank, we are getting the last stalks of the initial order and by the special grace of God in the next 42-72 hours food would be sent across to support our intentions people who do not have access to food in all wards of the state. We will use the federal wards as a means to distribution concerning this and it is to all Deltans and not restricted to party politics.
I also want to use this opportunity to thank all those who have made donations to our various accounts and those who have made donations in kind to the food bank. And I want to also encourage all Deltans to continue of assist the poor, we will remain accountable and we will ensure that the monies and food items donated will be put into proper use.
We have accounts as at today on Zenith bank, sterling bank and also UBA. You can pay money to any of those accounts and I am sure that the is a means through which those bank accounts are been communicated to all. Then for those who want to get further information, you can make enquiries from the office of the SSG of the Commissioner for Health.
Having taken core reasons on the health scale of the number of cases nationally standing at 303 today, spread across 19 states and the federal capital territory and the need to ease the process of contact tracing, the stay at home order has become necessary for the safety of our people and to enable us track, identify, isolate and test all contacts.
By the powers vested on me in line with the quarantine act and the subsequent infectious disease regulation 2020, I hereby extend the stay at home order for another period of 2 weeks. We do know that this will cause some pain for our people, but this is for the public good and for the interest of our health and I want to urge all Deltans to please observe the Stay at home order.
We believe that in the next 2 weeks, we would be able to track all contacts, identify all possible cases and be able to take the needed actions and then we would be able to use this next opportunity to also produce enough quantity of face asks for our people. It is our hope that we would be able to return to duty thereafter praying to God that the cases in Nigeria will not escalate above what we have at the moment.
We have also observed that because the law enforcement agents tend to slow down in the evenings, there are people who have been moving around and that some beer parlours and businesses have started to open to the public in the evenings because of that. I want to now take action to be able to stop the process of escalating infections.
Therefore, I am going to direct the Commissioner of police that from 7pm -7am nobody is expected to be seen outside, a dusk to dawn curfew is hereby imposed with effect from tomorrow until the next 14 days, only persons on essential duties are exempted. We have previously given a list of those on essential duties.
I also want to plead with all our law enforcement agencies to please treat all health staff with courtesy because these are men and women on duty and they deserve respect and we need to support them to do the work of helping to save lives therefore if any health staff approaches you with their identity card please do not cause such health staff any kind of pain because it will be rather unfortunate that those who we are appealing to help continue their duties in other to save our lives are under pain.
I want to also use this opportunity to thank the Commissioner of police for taking immediate action on some police officers who deliberately inflicted pain on some health staff and I want to thank God this issue which would have cause some doctors in the federal Medical Center to go on strike. However I want to appeal to other doctors and nurses that this is not the time to under any circumstance consider going on strike, it will be a disservice to humanity and it will be against the oath of office applied for the doctors in which each and every one of us swore to.
I want to also appeal to all Deltans, if you feel ill with fever cough usually dry cough and or difficulty in breathing please call your local government council chairman, the disease surveillance nursing officer, the executive secretary of the local health authorities or your doctor or call the following numbers, I have previously given out the numbers but I would like to repeat the numbers;
The First Number; 08031230480;
The second number; 08031230481;
The third; 08031230528; and
The fourth number; 08031230529.
I want to urge each and everyone of us even as we stay at home to continue to practice the washing of our hand with soap and water as regularly as possible and as much as possible avoid touching your eyes or your mouth and nose with your hands. We have continued to emphasize social distancing which is also physical distancing, ensuring that when ever you having any conversation even with your loved ones, try to stay 6 feet or two meters away from each other.
For those who find themselves in a place where they cannot immediately have water and soap, please use hand sanitizers if you have touched any surfaces, its important that you wash your hand and use the sanitizer if you have no soap and water.
The use of face mask is advisable if you have an occasion to go out even into the market, but as at today, all markets have been closed but we have asked that market for foodstuffs and essential items be opened in primary schools and secondary schools across the state and also at the discretion of the local government chairman in open spaces within our communities, but if you need to go out and you have a face mask please use it, but however as I said, in the next few days, we will start the distribution of facemasks which is currently being made by Deltans at a cost to the government. These facemasks will be distributed free of charge.
I want to use this opportunity to appreciate all our local government council chairmen and the local government teams that have been working with them, particularly the Executive Secretaries of Local Health Authorities and principally, the Disease Surveillance Nursing Officers in the various local government with other members of the team and all those who have assisted our local government council chairmen to ensure the lockdown order. Your commitment, we appreciate and we hope and pray that in the next two weeks, you will continue to be responsive in ensuring that the lockdown is actually effective.
I want to ask that our local government council chairmen with their various teams will ensure that all former markets are closed and that food markets are open in the primary and secondary school fields and that they must ensure that there is social distancing and to ensure that it means that we have to try to open as many branches in the primary schools and secondary schools that are available and when we do not have enough of this available please look out for open spaces and cause temporary markets to be open in such places.
You must also create a team to ensure that the social distancing is observed. Because people have continued to use the opportunity of the opening of food markets to loiter around, we have decided that this temporary food markets will only be opened on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays only and I believe that this is doable.
I want to urge all our council chairmen to observe strict compliance of these days for the opening of food markets.
Those who also sell essential things that are needed in the home like toiletries and soap can also be allowed I such food markets in the designated places and in the dates do approved.
All public and private gatherings remain banned, during this next two weeks, movement of people and goods into out and within delta state remain unlawful excepting for essential goods which actually are mainly foodstuffs and medical equipment or items.
The closure of all public places, including event centers, bars and resturants, canteens, malls and supermarkets shops and formal market places, cinemas, night clubs and lounges remain enforced and I want to appeal to all Deltans to please cooperate with us, it is not our wish to inflict pains on you but the circumstances of the now have made it impossible for us to allow free movement.
We believe that in the next two weeks, we would have essentially been able to track as many persons who have either been infected or the contacts of such persons to be able to sieve them out of the society and prayerfully we hope that after the next two weeks, we may be able to return to work, God willing.
At this point in time, I want to urge all Deltans to continue to trust God and to pray and use the period of sitting at home to bond with their families and I believe that God will hear our prayers as we continue to call on him.
I want to thank you all for your cooperation and thank the press and all those who have been involved in ensuring our communication with our people.
I also want to use this opportunity to thank the state team that has worked tirelessly to put things in place.
I’m aware that some Deltans through the social media have done all manner of things unfortunately to try and castigate what is being done but we are not deterred, we are still on course, we are very confident of the fact that we put in everything that needed to be put in.
Our four centers are well equipped and it is our hope that Deltans who have any symptoms will speak out early enough because the earlier we are able to detect the Covid-19 the easier we are able to manage the patient and ensure that they get well a many others across the world are getting well.
I wish you the best and hope that all Deltans will continue to pray for our state for our people and for our nation Nigeria.
Thank you and God bless you.