From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Ekiti State Government has imposed fresh restrictions to safeguard public health following a spike in cases of COVID-19.
Governor Kayode Fayemi who reeled out new guidelines to curb the second wave of COVID-19 in a broadcast on Wednesday said the step became necessary to ensure that the situation did not snowball out of control.
Fayemi said security agencies have given strict instructions to the taskforce and law enforcement agents to begin aggressive compliance enforcement activities in public places.
Affected by the latest restrictions are worship centres which have been directed to return to one service on worship days of Friday, Saturday and Sunday and they are to do so at half of their sitting capacity.
The Governor directed that schools in the state will remain closed till January 18 while vigils, partying and clubbing are suspended till further notice.
Fayemi directed that civil servants on Grade Level 12 and below are to stay at home till January 18 when they would be directed on when to resume back at their desks.
Government officials, he noted, are to discourage in-person meetings as much as possible and no government official must been seen in the public without wearing facemasks.
According to him, protocols regarding wedding and burial ceremonies remain in force directing that there should be no crowd in the church auditorium and burial services must be at the graveside only.
Supermarkets, event centres, hotels and bar owners, he added, are to strictly ensure that social distancing measures are put in place and followed accordingly.
The Governor said only half of the full sitting capacity of a facility can be allowed to participate in any ceremony/programme at any point and activities should not exceed 8pm.
Fayemi said: “In Ekiti here, as at two days ago, we had done a total of 7, 890 tests with 405 confirmed cases since the outbreak. We have about 30 active cases currently under treatment in our isolation center.
“One frightening fact about these figures however is that we have recorded about 15 cases out of about 170 tests conducted in the last one week. This is near 10% confirmed cases as against the less than 5% that we used to have at the beginning of the pandemic, earlier in the year.
“Things were not this bad when we imposed strict restrictions on the State at the outset of the breakout of the pandemic in March. Government is therefore very disturbed with the rising figure and its implications on our fragile health facilities and economic wellbeing.”
He added: “We understand the importance of this season in our religious life as a people, we however must prioritise public health above other considerations; therefore, we expect churches to observe the service in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols such as hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, observation of the approved social distance and to allow only half of the sitting capacity of the church to partake in the service.
“Churches and mosques are to enforce all the existing protocols and should return to only one service on Friday Saturday or Sunday as the case may be. Other weekly activities and congregational gatherings should be put on hold till further notice.
“In addition, protocols regarding wedding and burial ceremonies remain in force. There should be no crowd in the church auditorium and burial services must be at the graveside only.
“Supermarkets, event centres, hotels and bar owners are to strictly ensure that social distancing measures are put in place and followed accordingly.
“Only half of the full sitting capacity of a facility can be allowed to participate in any ceremony/programme at any point and activities should not exceed 8pm.
‘Partying, clubbing and vigils are suspended indefinitely until further notice.
“I have directed that all schools should remain closed till January 18; and
“Ekiti Kete, to ensure that things do not snowball out of control, we have given strict instructions to the taskforce and law enforcement agents to begin aggressive compliance enforcement activities in public places, including worship centers, event centers, markets, supermarkets, bars and hotels. Government will not hesitate to close down any facility indefinitely, and to prosecute operators of any public places, flouting the protocols.
“Finally, I urge you to keep safe on all fronts. We must not only keep safe in terms of COVID-19 prevention, we must also ensure that we drive safely as we join our families to celebrate the Yuletide. I urge you to celebrate responsibly and moderately. I wish you merry Christmas and happy New Year ahead.”