COVID-19: Ekiti Plans Stimulus For People, Opens Food Bank, As Fayemi Orders 14 Days Curfew
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State is leaving nothing to chance to ensure that the state is able to contain the spread of the deadly novel Cononavirus.
To this end, the Governor on Sunday addressed the people of the state and announced that there would be a 14-day curfew to restrict movement of people in order to enforce the social distancing which has been seen to be an effective way of preventing the spread of the virus. He also announced a number of measures the government has decided to take to cushion the effect of the compulsory stay at home directive to both the public servants and other segments of the society in Ekiti State.
Read below the full text of Fayemi’s address:
WE MUST DO MORE TO PREVENT AN OUTBREAK IN EKITI STATE
On Friday, March 20th 2020, I addressed you on the global scourge of the novel coronavirus named COVID-19 and its presence in Ekiti State as well as on the immediate actions we were taking to prevent the virus and curtail its spread.
I am glad to report that as at this morning, Ekiti State has not recorded any additional case of confirmed coronavirus patient while our single patient is doing very well in our isolation center, still without showing any symptom. We are hopeful that his repeat test will come back negative so he can be discharged soon.
I also want to acknowledge the patriotic residents who have acted responsibly in public interest by complying with the initial guidelines issued in my broadcast as part of our strategy to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Ekiti State. However, it is very disappointing that some of us have either been lukewarm, nonchalant or downright defiant in observing the simple but extremely effective preventive actions of hand washing with soap under running water, coughing into the inner elbow and maintaining social distancing to protect themselves from infection and curtail the spread of the virus in their communities.
While I acknowledge our resilient nature, incurable optimism and spiritual activism as a people, it is critical that we balance these with pragmatic and urgent actions that can ensure the safety of lives for our families and communities. Unlike any other infection, the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus is a type the world has never seen, so there is no verified cure or medication to manage the effects of an infection. The only proven means of defeating this lethal enemy of the human race is PREVENTION. And these preventive steps must be taken individually and collectively for it to be effective.
With the devastating impact this virus is having on more developed countries like the United States, United Kingdom, China, Italy, Spain and over 140 countries across the world, it is very clear to us that Nigeria, and especially Ekiti State, cannot afford a breakout of this virus on a large scale as we do not have the resources, human and financial, to cope with a surge in positive cases of the coronavirus infection.
If we do not take steps necessary to contain this virus, it has the potential to overwhelm our health infrastructure, cripple our economy and devastate Ekiti State in unimaginable proportions. As you are aware, the State is under significant financial constraints especially as a direct consequence of the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy and the price of crude oil that has gone down considerably. So, we cannot afford a public health crisis.
It is in urgent public interest that we must ensure strict compliance with all directives given to prevent community spreading of the disease. Therefore, in our collective interest and to further ensure the safety of Ekiti-kete, having declared Coronavirus (COVID- 19) an infectious disease in Ekiti State, I hereby, in pursuant to Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) impose a curfew of movement in Ekiti State.
The purpose of this curfew is to impose restrictions on the movement of persons and goods within Ekiti State for an initial period of fourteen days. This is in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in Ekiti State.
Therefore, effective from 23H59 (11:59pm) on Monday, March 30, 2020 until 23H59 (11:59pm) on Monday, April 13, 2020, there shall be restriction of movement across the length and breadth of Ekiti State, with all our borders closed. That is a full and total shut down of Ekiti State, and a 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew in Ekiti State from 7:00pm – 7:00 am. All Ekiti residents are hereby directed to STAY – AT – HOME.
We are implementing the Quarantine Act to keep all Ekiti residents safe. So let me be clear. If you do not go home or stay home for at least fourteen (14) days as from Monday, 30 March, 2020, you could face serious fines or prison term.
RESTRICTED MOVEMENT: During this period, movement between local governments is prohibited; movement between towns, villages and communities is also prohibited; every person shall be confined to the place where he or she ordinarily resides in Ekiti State.
EXCEPTIONAL MOVEMENTS: Those who are performing essential services will be allowed to move around, particularly health workers, but must be duly designated with an identity card by the Head of their Institutions. Individuals and institutions providing the following services shall be exempted from the restrictions:
i. Members of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary;
ii. Production, distr ibution and marketing of food and beverages,
pharmaceuticals, medicine, paper and plastic packages
iii. Environmental and sanitation activities
iv. Staff of electricity, water, telecommunications, e-commerce
and digital service providers;
v. Members of security agencies assigned on lawful duties;
vi. Staff of Banks and similar financial institutins;
Staff of fuel stations.
MARKETS / BUSINESSES CLOSED: All businesses and other entities shall cease operations during this period except those involved in the provision of essential goods or services. Markets, retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where essential goods are sold and with strict hygienic conditions to prevent the exposure of persons to COVID-19.
PROHIBITED GATHERINGS: Religious gatherings e.g. worship and prayer services, night vigils, house fellowships and NASFAT meetings; Social gatherings e.g. Funerals, weddings, family meetings and parties of any kind in night clubs, bars, beer joints; and Political gatherings, e.g. rallies, congresses, ward meetings. All of these are prohibited activities under these regulations.
EXCEPTIONAL GATHERING: Only gathering in respect of funeral will be allowed but the attendance shall be limited to 20 persons with no night vigil or party.
CLOSURE OF BOUNDARIES: All boundaries of Ekiti State are closed during this period, except for transportation of fuel, food and drugs and other essential goods. All non-residents who arrive the State prior to, or after, the imposition of this restriction, and who remain in the State, must remain in their place of temporary residence in the State for the duration of the 14 days, as the case may be, and may be subjected to screening for COVID-19 and be quarantined or isolated if necessary.
PROHIBITION OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT: All commuter transport services including bus services, taxi services, motor bikes (Okada) and tricycle services (Keke), is prohibited; except those for purposes of rendering essential services, obtaining essential goods, seeking medical attention, funeral services and to receive payment of social grants or food: Provided that such vehicle carries not more than 50% of the licensed capacity and all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and the limitation of exposure of persons to COVID-19, are adhered to.
PENALTIES: Any person who contravenes these regulations shall be guilty of an offence and, on conviction, liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Ekitikete, this administration is fully aware of the inconvenience these directives will have on our daily lives and livelihoods but it is the sacrifice we must all make to remain healthy and alive. To make this a little easier for us all, I hereby announce the following palliative measures especially for our high risk and vulnerable citizens.
a. March salaries have been paid last Thursday, 26th March so that civil and public servants can stock up on food and essential items necessary for the Stay-At-Home period. This was despite the fact that the FAAC disbursement for March was significantly lower than our salaries and many other states have found it difficult to pay March salaries. We are however hopeful that subsequent months will not fail, though the implications of the global economy are not very encouraging as IMF formally announced that the world is now in recession due to the coronavirus pandemic.
b. I have directed that the Ekiti State Food Bank be reactivated immediately to provide food items to the poor and vulnerable families in our communities. The Task Force will announce the modalities as soon as the process is fully activated.
c. The State Government will consider providing a stipend to our self-employed citizens whose daily income will be interrupted at this time as subsidy for their loss of income. I have directed the Commissioners of Finance and Budget to advise on the amount the State can afford in view of our dire financial constraints.
d. We shall commence the disinfecting of major public places like markets, bus stops, motor parks, health facilities, and all likely places where the virus may be lurking across our State. Already, a massive cleanup and disinfection is ongoing in some locations in Ado Ekiti e.g. Atikankan, Irona and Oja Oba areas and I am aware some Local Government Chairmen are already taking initiatives to dredge and clear drains within their jurisdictions.
e. Massive advocacy and sensitization is ongoing to advise you on the necessary preventive measures and how to identify and manage the symptoms of COVID-19 as well as what to do when you notice symptoms of fever, coughing, diarrhea or difficult breathing. Please remember that anyone can carry the coronavirus even if they do not have any of these symptoms; that is why you must wash your hands regularly and abstain from bodily contact at this time
f. To protect our senior citizens who have been proven to be most vulnerable to this deadly virus please do not visit your elderly parents or family at this time to prevent the risk of infecting them. If they live with you, please keep them separate as much as possible. Do not let them share common household items like plates, spoons, towels, soaps at this period. We must keep them safe and healthy as much as we can.
Ekitikete, it is necessary to let you know that though this virus is deadly, a positive result is not a death sentence. Anyone showing symptoms is most likely going to get better but may be very sick for some time, depending on the capacity of his/her body to fight the infection. Instead of stigmatizing anyone with symptoms, they should be cared for in accordance with medical advisory while the caregivers must ensure they protect themselves from being infected. Please call the Emergency Number 112 or 09062970434, 09062970435 and 09062970436 if anyone around you is showing symptoms, but first, isolate them from the rest of the family.
I have also directed the Ministry of Health to begin the process of establishing a second isolation center in Ado Ekiti. We currently have a 10-bed Isolation Center but we must begin to increase our capacity up to 100 beds with necessary medical equipment required to manage suffering patients. We have also ordered more PPE for our medical personnel to protect them from infection while caring for the sick.
This war against the coronavirus COVID-19 is a global one. Nigeria is just joining this global battle and we are doing everything possible nationally and at state levels to protect our citizens from this deadly virus. However, a time like this calls for better coordination among all stakeholders – Federal, State, development partners and private sector in order to stem the tide of this pandemic. One area that States have been speaking with one voice is the importance of ramping up on testing. The World Health Organisation (WHO) advisory is to test, test and test. We need the Federal Government to accelerate the establishment of more testing centres whilst at the same time allowing testing to be done by private laboratories and also give approval for the use of quick test-kits as a way of halting community spread of the virus.
Another key request of States is that the Federal Government enable a joined-up strategy for addressing the economic implications of the pandemic by providing stimulus for those likely to be affected by loss of income and to States and Local Governments directly hit by the impact of the measures taken.
This is a very expensive battle, especially for us in Ekiti State, where we can barely meet our regular obligations. I have therefore been holding meetings with development partners, philanthropic bodies and federal agencies to assist us in preventing an outbreak in Ekiti State by providing access to some of the support available nationally. We have also set up an Ekiti State COVID-19 PANDEMIC SUPPORT ACCOUNT with UBA Current Account Number 1022752067 for donations towards our efforts in this regard.
I want to thank all our citizens and political leaders who are providing hand sanitizers and information leaflets to their constituents as a way to sensitize and educate them on this virus. We encourage everyone to do all they can to ensure awareness, compliance and prevention in every farmstead and community in Ekiti State. While the state government will continue to do all we can, every family, community, kingdom and local government must also take responsibility for their area of jurisdiction. All hands must be on deck to defeat coronavirus in Ekiti State. It must be our collective responsibility.
Ekiti-kete, this indeed is a trying period, not only for our State or Nation, but for the whole world. I therefore plead for your understanding and tolerance as we jointly fight and defeat this monster, COVID-19.
As a government, to save the lives of Ekiti-kete is our topmost priority. Hence, it is my plea to you to continue staying wherever you are now within Ekiti State.
The coming days are definitely going to be unusual and somewhat unpleasant, but if this is what it takes to ensure our collective safety, I urge you all to cooperate with the government and make the sacrifice.
The measures we are taking now have been taken by more advanced and technically prepared government, all in the quest to curtail the spread of coronavirus and protect the life of the citizenry.
Coronavirus is not a respecter of persons, many highly placed persons have been infected all over the world, including in Nigeria. If you or anyone has been in contact with anyone who just arrived from abroad in the past 7 days, please call the emergency numbers immediately.
You will recall that I also went into self-isolation after I submitted myself to be tested for coronavirus. I thank you most sincerely for your concern and prayers, while I waited for my result which eventually came out negative.
I must confess that the period of waiting for the result of my test was a difficult moment for me. As a responsible leader, my thought was not about my result, but about people around me and those I have made contact with. The palpable fear of someone being infected through me was more tormenting than my own personal wellbeing.
On this note, I implore you to let us take responsibility for our life and the lives of those around us. All the helplines already given out are active and will respond in case of an emergency.
The Taskforce will continue to update you on the efforts we are taking to curtail the spread of this virus as earlier announced. Please avoid spreading rumors or unauthorized medical tips. There are no known cure for COVID-19 globally yet so please do not endanger your life by taking any concoction that will harm you out of fear.
Ekitikete, this is not the time to be fearful or panic stricken. COVID-19 is not a death sentence. We are not helpless against it if we are resolved to prevent it. Keep all the preventive measures, stay at home and maintain social distancing. Government is determined to ensure we stop its spread. You also must be determined to do your part.
Once again, I plead for your usual support and understanding, and pray that at the end of it all, we will have cause to rejoice and congratulate ourselves for taking necessary precautions.
Alale Ekiti a ja ko a o!
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON Governor