Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has imposed a 10pm to 5am curfew on the state and shifted the resumption of schools to February 1, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Obaseki, who announced the measures at a press briefing on the second wave of the pandemic at Government House, Benin, stressed that the curfew became imperative following the spread of the virus among rural and urban dwellers, unlike the first wave when infections were limited to the urban centres.
The governor announced that schools in the state would resume tentatively on February 1 to ensure that modalities were put in place in line with the COVID-19 protocols, adding that a monitoring team from the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) would oversee compliance before the proposed date.
He stated that the resumption date might be shifted depending on the level of compliance with the COVID-19 protocols and how well the curve would have been flattened then.
Obaseki stated that the testing capacity for COVID-19 across the 18 local government areas of the state had been increased to 600 daily, while five isolation centres had been reactivated.
He attributed the widespread of the virus in the state to non-compliance with the COVID-19 protocols, especially the none use of face masks and observance of social distance, promising that going forward, sanctions would be imposed on defaulters as stipulated in the extant laws on containing infectious diseases.
“There had been a sustained increase in the second wave since it started about six weeks ago. People must adhere to the protocol for us to reduce the spread. If you are found flouting the regulations, we would force you to comply. We now have enforcement teams going around the cities and villages to ensure compliance. If you flout the law you will be prosecuted and convicted,” Obaseki said.
He added: “Accordingly, we are therefore reviewing the curfew from 10pm to 5am daily, starting from today, (Friday),” the governor added.
The governor noted that available data in the second wave indicated that children and elderly citizens are now easily affected, which is a departure from the first wave of the pandemic.
“We have evidence that suggests that more elderly people will be affected in this second wave and this second wave is driven by community transmission. We are now seeing more children and youths being infected and they account for these transmissions,” he said, adding: “Worship centres were being encouraged to ask the too young and the elderly members to stay at home.”
“All private and public schools in the state will resume February 1. We would go round to ensure that they comply with the COVID-19 protocols. In the meantime, schools will not resume until we review the situation,” he stated.
He also announced the closure of all swimming pools in hotels and other public places until the pandemic is over.
“My good people of Edo State, the battle against COVID-19 is one that we will fight together. The second wave is here with us, and we are confident because of the accomplishments in the first wave,” Obaseki assured.
Speaking on the implementation of the second wave by transporters, the deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, said the state is working closely with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to ensure that “no face mask no boarding rule” was strictly adhered to, adding that drivers and conductors would be held responsible for violation
The deputy governor also disclosed that any passenger who flouted the order would be prosecuted on the spot alongside the driver of the commercial vehicle to serve as a deterrent to others.
Also speaking, the state COVID-19 Incident Manager, Andrew Obi, said there were plans to vaccinate at least 60 per cent of the state population in order to reduce the spread.