IBADAN/News Investigators/ Oyo State governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has said that the state government has resolved to produce one million face masks for use of the people of the state as a measure of fighting the spread of the novel coronavirus in the State.
Even as the State is currently working with International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Institute of Agricultural Research Training (IART) to ensure food security in the post COVID-19 era.
Governor Makinde, who made this known while addressing newsmen at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, said that some countries have found the use of masks helpful in pushing back the virus.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, also quoted the governor as saying that the State would commission 100 tailors to produce the one million masks.
He said: “As I stated in an earlier interview, one of the measures we considered to prevent, contain and control the spread of COVID-19 in Oyo State is the compulsory use of face masks in the public. We reached a decision to implement this measure. What we are saying is, if you must leave your house and come to any public place, you must wear face mask.
“We know that we are in a very tough economic environment right now. So, what Oyo State government wants to do is to produce an initial one million face masks to kick start masks in public place policy in Oyo State.
“What we have also done is to link up with the artisans; 100 of the tailors will be commissioned by Monday, 20th of April, to make 10,000 face masks each.
“We are collaborating with experts who have already designed these face masks to train the tailors on how to make them. They will also employ some more tailors to join them so that they can, on a daily basis, cluster of tailors should be able to produce 2,000 face masks, so that within the week, they can hit the 10,000 target.”
Governor Makinde, who also noted that the ongoing massive Drive-Through/Walk-Through Testing at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan, was already yielding results, added that the test would enable the state get hold of scientific base to understand the behaviour of the virus in Oyo State.
He said that with four new cases confirmed from the tests, the State would be in a position to understand the pattern of the virus and come up with matching measures to contain it.
Besides, the governor also announced a shift in the resumption of workers at the State Secretariat from Monday, 20 April, 2020, noting that subject to further evaluation of the State’s situation, the secretariat would tentatively re-open on Monday, 27 April, 2020.
He said that the state was already concerned about food security post-COVID-19, adding that the government will embark on enlightenment for farmers on how to stay safe from Coronavirus while engaging in farming.
According to him, Oyo State was working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Institute of Agriculture Research and Training (IAR&T) to ensure a seamless planting season.
The governor said: “Yesterday (Thursday), the COVID-19 confirmation tests for two suspected cases came back positive. One of the two cases lives in Yemetu. I understand that the individual works at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, while the other is a returnee from the United States. During the COVID-19 Task Force meeting on Friday, we also received message that two more persons have tested positive.
“So we have four new cases through the Drive-Through/Walk-Through Test being conducted at Adamasingba. It has been our aspiration to test a lot more people. So, as we do this mass testing, we can see the pattern of the virus within our environment. And from those tests and results, we can confidently tell of how the virus is behaving within our environment, and we can have appropriate measures designed to deal with the situation.”
The governor said the State was well-prepared in terms of isolation centres and facilities, stating that apart from the 100-bed Infectious Disease Centre at Olodo, Ibadan, which is ready to receive cases, the State had been upgrading the isolation at the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso, while another facility in Saki is being upgraded to 100-bed ICU.
He added that the General Hospital at Igbo-Ora is also being evaluated for a section of it to be used as an isolation centre.
On the distribution of palliatives, Governor Makinde maintained that the State’s data for the distribution of palliatives was now ready and that it had been able to identify the poorest of the poor, who will benefit from the palliatives.
He said: “On the issue of palliative, we are still working on it. I have mentioned earlier that a lot of pressure is being mounted on the government to provide a palliative for the people but the data that we met showed that the palliative will go to wrong hands if we have used the data.
“Now, we have our own data and we are sure about it because we have done two levels of verification and validation. We are sure that we have been able to identify the poorest of the poor in our environment here. With the data, we will engage in the distribution of palliatives for our people hopefully before the end of next week. The good news also is, some of the states that have gone through this palliative distribution have had challenges. We have looked at those challenges and have designed measures around it such that it will not happen in Oyo State.”
The governor appreciated health workers in the State, even as he chided those he accused of waiting for bad news from Oyo State, noting that they would wait without result, because the State had been doing everything humanly possible to win the war against COVID-19.