Why Ondo Govt may Reopen Churches, Mosques —Akeredolu

By: Ade Adeleke

As government continues to seek strategies to stop further spread of COVID-19 pandemic across the country, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu yesterday explained why he is considering reopening of churches and mosques to explore ways of returning religious worship to the state.

Addressing newsmen during his weekly Press Briefing in Akure, the governor explained that the government will accelerate consultations with religious leaders to review the situation, adding that without doubt the people will soon hear from him.

“We will do all to ensure freedom, confidence and prosperity for our people, including the right to seek the face of God almighty at all times and especially at these crucial times.

“In furtherance to this, Government will be meeting with religious leaders and other stakeholders within the state to explore ways of returning religious worship to our society. We will accelerate such consultations and review and without doubt the people will hear from me very soon,” the governor said.

Akeredolu pointed out that all government’s directives to prevent COVID-19 pandemic are still in force.

“Such measures include the dusk to dawn curfew, border and entry points closure, physical and social distancing, restrictions on business and market activities, compulsory use of face masks, guided burial and interment protocols as well as all personal hygiene practices.

“While substantial compliance with approved days and modes of operation has been noticed in the markets, a brazen and flagrant disobedience of these simple regulations by sellers and hawkers of non-essential item have also been noted.”

The governor warned residents of ondo state against self-medication against the disease amidst debate about the use of herbal medicine.

He said all the herbal combinations and orthodox medicine mostly being promoted and displayed on the social media and elsewhere are not yet authenticated and approved for clinical use.

“I must not end this briefing without making clear our position on the national conversation on the treatment and medications for COVID-19. While there have been various suggestions and unauthorised recommendations of drugs and therapies for COVID-19, Government wishes to use this opportunity to advise the public against embarking on such harmful and indiscriminate acts.

“I therefore wish to advise our people in Ondo state not to jeopardise their own health through self-medication against Coronavirus. I call on everyone to promptly report all cases for proper medical review and appropriate treatment.

“While Government remains mindful of the challenges imposed upon all of us by this pandemic, I wish to emphasise that we will continue to take every lawful and necessary measures towards the welfare and protection of our people.

“We will do all to ensure freedom, confidence and prosperity for our people, including the right to seek the face of God almighty at all times and especially at these crucial times,” Akeredolu said.

Read the full text of the Governor’s Press conference;

BEING AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE GOVERNOR OF ONDO STATE ARAKUNRIN OLUWAROTIMI O. AKEREDOLU SAN, ON THE LATEST DEVELOPMENT ON COVID–19 IN ONDO STATE, ON MONDAY 18TH MAY, 2020, AT THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE GROUNDS, ALAGBAKA, AKURE.

1.Gentlemen of the media, I am going to be very brief.
2.You have listened to the Hon. Commissioner for Health & Chairman Interministerial Committee on COVID-19. There is no gainsaying that our position today appears same as it was in the previous weeks. The fact that we have only four confirmed new cases supports this. The implication of the current trend is that the curve is not flattening yet and there is still much to be done. For us as a Government, we will continue to demonstrate the will and zeal to do all it takes to save our people.

3.For the purpose of emphasis, of all the 20 cases so far confirmed in Ondo state, 13 have been successfully treated and discharged, one dead and six in bed, undergoing treatment. What is clear in this data is that COVID-19 can be treated if detected and reported early. It is also clear that our health workers are competent and more than ready to save lives.

4.Recall that to stem the rave of the pandemic, we took some additional measures to strengthen the standard national response protocols to the spread. Such measures included monitoring all entry points and blocking illegal routes into the state. We also restricted the operations of our main and community markets. In all of these, our objectives are to enforce social and physical distancing as well as restriction of unauthorised movements. The goal is to stop imported cases and community transmission, both of which have been identified as the main sources of the spread in our State.

5.I therefore wish to thank our people for their substantial compliance with our regulations. We know it has not been easy considering the disruption of our ways of lives and economic livelihood imposed by the deadly pandemic. I also wish to thank the security agencies for their sense of focus, professionalism & discretion.

6.At this point, our greatest concern still remains are the interstate importation and community transmission of this deadly infection. The specifics of the twentieth case bears testimony to the seriousness of the matter.

The case lives in Oke Aro, Akure. Her records show she neither travelled in or out of the state recently. She was fully resident in her community in Oke Aro. The implication is that having been infected, she might also have come in contact with others thereby enlarging the circle. This is what community transmission means. It is dangerous, deadly and undesirable. We must therefore all collaborate to stop the threat.

7.While the 20th case is already undergoing treatment, a massive contact tracing has already been activated to contain the spread. In this vein, I wish to admonish all residents of Ondo state to remain vigilant and dedicate themselves to community care by reporting all suspicions to our health workers and our rapid response team available on the specially designated toll-free numbers.

8.Gentlemen of the media, I must not end this briefing without making clear our position on the national conversation on the treatment and medications for COVID-19. While there have been various suggestions and unauthorised recommendations of drugs and therapies for COVID-19, Government wishes to use this opportunity to advise the public against embarking on such harmful and indiscriminate acts.

All the herbal combinations and orthodox medicine mostly being promoted and displayed on the social media and elsewhere are not yet authenticated and approved for clinical use. I therefore wish to advise our people in Ondo state not to jeopardise their own health through self-medication against Coronavirus. I call on everyone to promptly report all cases for proper medical review and appropriate treatment.

9.While Government remains mindful of the challenges imposed upon all of us by this pandemic, I wish to emphasise that we will continue to take every lawful and necessary measures towards the welfare and protection of our people. We will do all to ensure freedom, confidence and prosperity for our people, including the right to seek the face of God almighty at all times and especially at these crucial times.

10. In furtherance to this, Government will be meeting with religious leaders and other stakeholders within the state to explore ways of returning religious worship to our society. We will accelerate such consultations and review and without doubt the people will hear from me very soon.

11. Meanwhile, let me state categorically that all containment regulations earlier pronounced by Ondo State Government are geared towards protection of the people and containment of the spread of the pandemic. So far, they have led us to modest success and they shall remain in force accordingly.

12. Such measures include the dusk to dawn curfew, border and entry points closure, physical and social distancing, restrictions on business and market activities, compulsory use of face masks, guided burial and interment protocols as well as all personal hygiene practices.

13. While substantial compliance with approved days and modes of operation has been noticed in the markets, a brazen and flagrant disobedience of these simple regulations by sellers and hawkers of non-essential item have also been noted.

This particularly has to do with sellers and buyers of second-hand clothing and other fabrics, cosmetics, phone accessories and others in same category, especially in Akure the state capital and other city centres.

14. For those in this category, who in defiance, insist on endangering the lives of others for their own selfish gain, let me use this opportunity, for the umpteenth time, to appeal to you to comply with the laid down regulations. It is for your own good.

15. To this end, I also implore the Police and the Governor’s task force to fully implement Government’s directives on the markets regulations.

Let me end by thanking our health workers at our isolation centres. I also thank all donors to the fund mobilisation committee. I thank the palliative distribution committee as well as the media for your support and consistent responsiveness during these difficult times.

16. With deep faith in God almighty and a careful handling of the containment procedure, I believe we will overcome.

17. Thank you and may God bless our state.

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