Coronavirus: Why we’re reluctant to impose total lockdown – Obaseki

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Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has explained why he is reluctant to impose total lockdown in the state as measure to check the spread of coronavirus in the state.

The Governor, in an address monitored in Benin City, said he has been reluctant to impose total lockdown because of the economic hardship such a move would cause.

He announced aggressive enforcement policy taken by the government to stem the spread of coronavirus in the state.

He said with 11 confirmed cases as at Wednesday, April 8, evidence shows that the number of cases is likely to increase significantly in the next few weeks.

Obaseki, who has just completed a 14-day isolation after exposure to confirmed cases of coronavirus, said throughout the isolation period, he effectively coordinated the state’s efforts to stem the spread of the virus.

He noted that the state government’s response strategy is geared towards ensuring that the livelihoods of the people are protected.

“As at today, Edo State has 11 confirmed cases and sadly one death from COVID-19.

“Unfortunately, from the evidence we now have, the number of cases is likely to increase significantly in the next few weeks, unless we take very drastic actions now to slowdown the spread.

“We have gathered information that large numbers of our citizens who travelled back home in the last several weeks from overseas may not have self-isolated themselves.

“Although majority of the current cases are individuals with travel history and their relatives, in the coming days, we are likely to see community transmission of the virus to people who do not have any travel history.

“Edo State government is very reluctant to have a total shutdown of the state because of the hardship it will cause to our people.

“However, if we are going to stop the spread of the virus, every person must be involved, it must be a shared responsibility. Government alone cannot stop it without the active co-operation of the citizens.

“As I emphasised in my last statement, the COVID-19 virus does not spread on its own. It is people who spread it when they move around.

“So, if we can reduce the movement of people for a period, and keep safe distance from other people, the virus will not spread.

“Government will now strictly enforce all the guidelines which has been announced to control the spread of COVID-19.

“For the next 14 days it is compulsory that every person in Edo state must wear a face mask in public.

“The Edo State Association of Tailors and Fashion Designers are mass-producing high-quality reusable face masks at affordable prices.

“Any gathering of more than 20 people will be immediately dispersed and persons involved will be prosecuted,” he said.