Rising calls for a total lockdown in Oyo State as part of measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 may not see the light of the day owing to the Governor Seyi Makinde’s insistence that that “total lockdown” was at the bottom of the list of options he was considering.
In a phone interview with Isaac Brown on Fresh FM on Tuesday morning, Makinde explained that he had been resisting the calls for a total lockdown because he was considering milder options that may produce better results.
According to him, “everything that can be done to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Oyo State is on the table. We will continue to assess the situation and take additional measures where necessary.”
The state is currently on a partial lockdown with a dusk to dawn curfew in place.
Asked why the state is not on total lockdown like Lagos, Ogun, Osun and Ekiti, the governor said: “Yes, Lagos can be on lockdown, Ogun can be on lockdown, Oyo State, yes, people have been saying have a total lockdown and then I have been asking them questions. What will be the benefits here? Are there alternative courses of action for us to take?
“If you ask people not to come out, you lock down the market places, there are people who what they sell today – the profit from today’s activities is what they will eat tomorrow. There are plenty people like that within our environment. So, are there alternatives available to us? Can we do selective lockdowns?
“I think, everything is on the table but it has to follow a logical pattern & it will need the input of experts. We are not just going to lockdown because everyone is locking down.”
Makinde indicated that he might consider a model working in Czech Republic where people are being made to wear mask if they must go out. He said reports have it that Czech has been successful in managing the COVID-19 crisis.
“I have been watching CNN and the most successful place right now in containing this is the Czech Republic,” he said. “And one of the things they brought out is that they made a law that if you must leave your house, you must wear a mask. It may be that route for us to go.
“I have asked them to start evaluating that. If we must make that law and say everybody that must go out must wear a mask, then, how about those who cannot afford it. Can we make masks locally? Can we get our artisans and our tailors to commit to that with the government supporting? So, those are the type of solutions we are looking for.
The governor assured Oyo people that the state was doing everything to prevent the spread of the virus in the state.
His words: “Let me give the assurance that Oyo State Government will continue working with data from the Emergency Operations Centre, and we will do everything in our power to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
So, I want to again, urge everyone in Oyo State to continue to follow the directives of the COVID-19 Task Force and together, by the grace of God, we will defeat this virus and get our economy and our lives back on track.
Recall that Makinde has tested positive to the virus and has been in self isolation without symptoms.
On how he may have contracted the virus, he explained that the source of exposure could be the last National Economic Council meeting in Abuja.
He said: “All governors who attended the National Economic Council meeting, were advised to self-isolate once one of the attendees tested positive. So, based on that advice, I started self-isolating a week ago. In fact, I had to cancel the face-to-face EXCO meeting for Tuesday last week because of that.
“What we are dealing with right now is that well, I have done the test, it is positive, I have the virus so it is something that we know is real and we have to deal with it.”