Why we are not limiting congregations ― Oyo health commissioner

• says state has no confirmed case of coronavirus

Amidst reports of suspected cases of coronavirus in Ibadan, Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Bashir Bello has maintained that the state still has no confirmed case of the virus.

Asked whether the state government was contemplating limiting congregations, public gatherings, like some other states had done, Oyo health commissioner said the state government was keener on people being personally responsible to adhere to precautionary measures.

Addressing a press conference at governor’s office, state secretariat, Ibadan, on Thursday, Oyo health commissioner said it was more imperative for residents to see the need to limit their attendance at social gatherings, maintain social distance, strictly adhere to hygienic practices, and have good respiratory hygiene.

Furthermore, he also admonished those coming to the state from countries with cases of coronavirus to self-isolate themselves for 14 days.

“On limiting public gatherings, what we are doing is not just telling people that there is no danger but there should be no alarm provided we take all the precautions that are necessary.

“Our duty is to alert the public to take certain preventive measures to be safe. We understand that this is an epidemic and it has no borders but the effect will be less severe if people could take necessary precautionary measures.

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“If it is attended to at the onset, the outcome will be good. We call on all citizens to rely on their intelligent quotient and maintain social distance let alone going to gatherings. People should intelligibly know how to take care of their lives not necessarily without a ban,” Bello said.

On the case of the Ekiti individuals who stayed in Ibadan and were suspected to have coronavirus, he said the state had begun contacts tracing.

Though he refused to name the specific location that the Ekiti cases stayed in Ibadan, he assured that the state government was carrying out investigations and monitoring movements of traced contacts. On the Bodija suspected case, Bello said the state still awaited the result of the UK returnee to Bodija, whose blood samples had been taken.

Bello said the man, in his 50s, remained on self-isolation, while his test result was expected from the National Reference Laboratory, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, on Friday.

“I wish to reassure the people of the State that there is currently no confirmed case of coronavirus in Oyo State until the result of the said individual return to us.

“The public is therefore implored to remain calm but ensure strict adherence to hygiene practices (Regular handwashing with soap and running water or use of alcohol-based sanitizers) and observe good respiratory hygiene (Covering of the nose and mouth with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing and proper immediate disposal of the used tissue paper as well as immediate hand washing).

“More importantly, the Ministry wishes to strongly implore all individuals arriving Oyo State and other parts of Nigeria from countries with ongoing COVID-19 outbreak to notify the Ministry of Health on arrival, and undergo supervised self-isolation for at least fourteen days before moving around.

“Such individuals should promptly report any symptoms observed during self-isolation to Oyo State Ministry of Health.
“I wish to enjoin family members and neighbours to advice individuals arriving from such countries to ensure strict compliance with the 14-day self-isolation and to promptly notify the Ministry of Health if it is not complied with.

“We also enjoin private health facilities to conform with expected universal precaution and protocols when attending to all clients.

“There is the need to have a high index of suspicion especially with cases of unexplainable fever and upper respiratory tract infections.

“I also wish to quickly state that other State Health facilities are available and accessible to members of the public for the provision of care.

“The public is therefore implored to remain calm but ensure adherence preventive practices like social distancing, staying about 6 feet from the next person, limit social gathering and social contact to only when absolutely necessary.
“Because of the fluid nature of development around Covid-19, as the world evolves in its handling of the pandemic, we in Oyo State are also evolving and exploring ways to address the situation.

“Let me at this juncture note that the provision of qualitative health care is a joint responsibility of all,” Bello said.

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