The Edo State Government has stepped up its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as Governor Godwin Obaseki has further reduced the number of people allowed in any public gathering in the state from 50 to 20 persons.
Other fresh measures taken by the state government in the face of continuous spread of the virus in the country include closure of markets, with only sellers of food items, medicines and other vital commodities allowed to operate.
The governor said this during the inauguration of the Edo State COVID-19 Response Committee at Government House, Benin City, the Edo State Capital.
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Obaseki said “We are reducing the number of persons allowed to gather in public places from 50 to 20 persons. Also, only markets where essential commodities like foodstuffs are sold should remain open for now.
“The state government is working with the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) for mass production of hand sanitizers in drums that would be distributed to Local Government Areas (LGAs), palaces, markets and other government agencies for use in public places.”
He directed transport unions to intensify sensitisation among members on the need to implement the social distancing policy by reducing the number of passengers on their vehicles.
The governor tasked security agencies in the state on the enforcement of the new measures.
He said the state government would partner with the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) to intensify public health services, calling on retired health workers to be on standby, as they may be needed to boost services, if necessary.
On reports of indiscriminate consumption of chloroquine, the governor said the state government would work with the State Ministry of Health (SMoH), NMA and pharmaceutical associations to immediately swing into action to reach patent medicine stores to regulate the sale of medicines, especially chloroquine.
He added that the state government is considering the bulk purchase of face masks and reselling them to members of the public, noting “This is so that churches and other bodies and groups that need to buy them will get them at a regulated price, so that we can limit the cost to the public.
“We would be taking a special interest in the correctional services. We would be providing support and food supplies to the correctional centres in the state to help them during this period.”