This week, the Federal Government finally acknowledged that Nigeria could not bear the economic costs of COVID-19 total lockdowns. Meanwhile, Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has consistently maintained he will not #LockDownOyo until he sees a scientific and logical reason to do so. He spoke with Mayor Isaac Brown of Fresh FM, Monday the 27th of April, on the measures his administration is applying in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease. Here are ten takeaways from the interview:
1. Governor Makinde continues to balance the physical health of the people with the economic health of Oyo state. Consequently, he directed the reopening of the State Secretariat and the resumption of workers from Grade Level 13 and above to keep the secretariat functioning.
2. Palliatives from the Oyo State Government will be distributed this week to 90,000 poorest of the poor households and 30,000 vulnerable households.
3. All members of the COVID-19 Task Force are serving Oyo State without compensation. They include virologists, epidemiologists and other public health practitioners.
4. Residents of Oyo State often make frivolous calls to the state emergency number 615 thus hampering the efficiency of response by security operatives to those who need help.
5. The idea of a “holding facility” for suspected COVID-19 cases which are awaiting results was dropped because the government does not have the resources for it. Additionally, such facilities may lead to cross-infection as it will house both cases which turn out to be negative with cases which turn out to be positive.
6. Isolation centres will be set up in Saki and Igbo Ora in addition to the existing isolation centres at LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Agbami Chest Centre, Jericho and Infectious Disease Centre, Olodo.
7. A welfare package has been approved for health workers in the state, including volunteers as the government continues to procure and provide more PPEs for these frontline officers.
8. Almost 50% of the COVID-19 cases in Oyo State can be directly linked to UCH, Ibadan.
9. The Oyo State Government is working on the strained relationship with UCH and will continue to do so as they collaborate in the fight against COVID-19 in the state.
10. That the Oyo State Government will continue its enlightenment campaign to get the citizenry to voluntarily comply with the quarantine guidelines rather than engaging the security agencies to enforce compliance.
Bonus point: That the Oyo State Government will not hesitate to wall off communities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections if there is evidence of continuous community transmission.