Good people of Ogun State, find below highlights of my update on strategies we are employing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. It is worrisome that Ogun State, like Nigeria, has witnessed an
increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since my last related press briefing. Despite our having screened over 10,000 persons and also tested about 5,611 people as at yesterday, 28th July, 2020; we have 1,326 confirmed cases; out of which 1,068 have been discharged; while we have an unfortunate record of 23 related fatalities; with 227 active cases. As we intensify efforts as a government therefore, I urge everyone to adhere to advisories rolled out by health authorities.
2. One of the two major discourses in the public domain is the reopening of schools. Despite having initiated e-classes for students, we understand the uniqueness of physical classes, so we have made available Risk Assessment Forms on ogmoest.org to public and private schools to evaluate readiness for the adoption of the FG’s resolve to allow SS3 students resume on 4th August to prepare for SSCE (to begin on the 17th). A mandatory virtual training is also being organised for school staff on decontamination, medical equipment, toilet facilities, flexibility of closing times, and special requirements for boarding schools.
3. The other discourse is the reopening of worship centres. After rigorous deliberations by the related Committee, I can announce that worship centres will tentatively reopen on Friday, 14th August, on the condition that they adhere to agreed guidelines, failing which we shall not hesitate to impose severe sanctions on erring centres. These are on the use of facemasks and hand sanitizers; distancing; and provision of medical, toilet and hygiene facilities including Veronica buckets. Others include:
A. Muslims to perform ablution at home and go to Mosque with personal praying mats;
B. Certified medical personnel to check worshippers’ temperature before admittance to venues;
C. Handshakes, hugs and air conditioners to be avoided in all centres;
D. Provision of isolation rooms, as well as digital cameras to record services, in each centre;
E. Adequate medical support to be provided for sick persons;
F. Duration of services not to be more than an hour and a half, while intervals in the case of multiples should be of the same duration;
G. Constant sensitisation on COVID-19, its dangers, preventive measures, and especially the susceptibility of the elderly, to be included in sermons;
H. Large worship centres (with more than 200 worshippers in a given service) to further pursue concurrence with the State Government Committee, towards ensuring ventilation and effective entry and exit management procedure and the avoidance of item sharing during Holy Communion;
4. Earlier today in an unrelated address, I announced that going by the counsel of the Ulammah and the resolution of the NSCIA, Ogun State will unfortunately not be celebrating the coming Eid-el-Kabir (called Ileya) , which comes up on Friday, 31st July, owing to COVID-19 restrictions which disadvise large gatherings, whether for prayers or partying. We will all therefore have to celebrate solemnly with our families, as the Almighty Allah (SWT) grants us the grace to celebrate more Ileyas in our lifetime.
5. All current measures and restrictions will remain in place for the general public. These include: 10pm-4am daily weekday curfew; total weekend lockdown; transport sector restrictions; decontamination and physical distancing; restaurants’ takeaway service allowance; measure compliance by industries; and wearing of facemasks, which if flouted is punishable by up to 6 months’ imprisonment under an extant Regulation and State Law.
6. I will not stop appreciating all first responders in health, security and the media, as well as individual and corporate organisations, for their unrelenting contributions and sacrifices towards flattening the curve on the COVID-19 spread and easing the effects of the pandemic.