Dapo Abiodun, Ogun State governor.

KUNLE IDOWU

Ogun State Government yesterday extended the lockdown on places of worship and schools by two weeks, pledging to continue to place public safety over and above any other consideration in its efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19 virus in the State.

The government’s position was contained in a Press Release issued in Abeokuta by Kunle Somorin, Chief Press Secretary to the state Governor, Dapo Abiodun.

The Statement noted that available data and opinions of experts continue to indicate that the fight against the virus is far from being won.

The statement added that to date, a total number of 4,072 people were tested out of which 898 tested positive.

“Amongst the positive cases, 609 have been successfully treated and discharged but sadly, there have been a total of 19 deaths with 270 active cases. One of our border Local Governments is one of the Local Governments with the highest number of cases in the country because of the level of testing” the statement explained.

It noted that the high numbers could also be obtainable in other local governments as government ramps up testing, stressing that “all this emphasises the need for us to exercise high level of restraint as the state can neither afford more fatalities or allow the rate of sickness to outnumber the capacity to manage the sick”

“Consequently, we are extending our current Phase of eased restrictions for another two weeks. As usual, we will continuously review and modify the guidelines in response to data from the field and expert opinions.” the state government posited.

The government promised to monitor the recent lifting of the ban on interstate travels by the federal government to determine its impact on the COVID-19 situation, warning that it would not hesitate to make appropriate adjustment, in consultation with the federal government if it notices any abuse.

“Schools are to remain shut. A committee has been set up to engage all stakeholders – public and private school owners – and developmental Guidelines for a safe reopening of our schools, especially to allow certificate classes to resume and write their examinations.

The government reiterates that the following restrictions will remain in place:

▪ All 5 working days in the week (Monday to Friday) are still open for businesses and other economic transactions with only Saturday and Sunday as lockdown days;

▪ Commercial activities are not permitted on weekends

▪ Churches and mosques activities will remain closed;

▪ Observation of dusk-to-dawn curfew as directed by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) i.e. between 10.00pm and 4.00am daily;

▪ Wearing of face masks in the public is still mandatory;

▪ Only one passenger is still allowed for motorcycles and two passengers only for tricycles.

▪ Taxi cabs and buses still have 60% limitation on their carrying capacity and the measure to arrest and impound any driver that contravenes this in our State is still in force;

▪ The COVID-19 Task Force in markets must continue to ensure physical distancing, availability of hand washing facilities, and use of gloves and facemasks for traders;

▪ Decontamination will continue in our markets and other public places;

▪ Limitation of all gatherings to a maximum number of 20, is still in effect;

▪ Gyms, event centres, cinemas, arcades, bars, casinos, nightclubs, swimming pools, barber-shops, spas, beauty Salons, and all public parks, including those in private residential estates, are still not allowed to operate;

▪ Restaurants are permitted to provide only take-away services and should also ensure that there are no more than 10-15 customers at a time with physical distancing measures in place. Guidelines for eat-in services are still being fine-tuned;

▪ All industries in Ogun State must continue to comply with the “Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines for Workplaces in Ogun State to Combat COVID-19” as issued by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments. Therefore, testing of staff for COVID-19 in all industries in the State must be sustained;

▪ The Task Force set up to conduct random spot checks on the premises of the industries, restaurants and other business enterprises to confirm compliance is still in operation.

Other precautionary measures still in force in Ogun State are:
▪ Funerals and wedding gatherings should not be more than 20 persons, including family members and officiating ministers/priests;

▪ There will still be restriction on sports and recreational activities;

▪ Bank/Financial Institutions are to continue their normal operations as allowed in Phase two;

The Governor appreciates the understandingand cooperation of the people of the State and emphasises that despite all the restrictions and government efforts, each individual taking personal responsibility is at the heart of this joint effort to combat a common enemy.

“We are confronted with tough choices in this fight with an invisible enemy.

“Our Administration will always err on the side of safety and security of our people without whom there cannot be a future not to talk of Building Our Future Together Agenda. The inconveniences imposed by the pandemic are regrettable but are smaller prices to pay than the safety and health of our people”, the Statement concluded.