The governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki says defaulters of the compulsory use of nose masks in public across the 18 Local Government Areas of the State can either be convicted by mobile courts or made to undertake Community service as punishment.
He said this during a briefing on the second wave on COVID-19 at the weekend in Benin City where he explained that over 5000 health workers have been trained in Covid-19 sample collection in the State.
Obaseki also stated that the State now has the capacity to conduct 600 Covid-19 test daily, and raised concern that more Children under the age of 10 had been infected with the disease in the second wave of the pandemic in the State, based on epidemiological evidence.
The Governor, stressed that the State now has the capacity to conduct as much as 600 test daily; just as he tasked to government institutions and officials to set the example in helping to curb the deadly virus.
“We will enforce our guidelines and when we find anybody no matter how highly that is in breach of the Covid-19 guidelines and protocol, we will ensure that those guidelines are enforced” by the newly recruited Constabulary and officials of the Public Works Volunteers (PUWOV) in the State.
“If we find you flouting any of the regulation, if we find you not wearing your facemasks, we have put in place the enforcement mechanism to make sure that you compelled to comply while stating that those convicted by the mobile court would be regarded as ex-convicts.
“We have out in place enforcement team and you will see them going around Cities and Communities. And when we get a report and find out that anyone is breaching the regulation.
“We will effectively ensure that you do not only comply and if necessary, you will be charged and convicted. The charges are there. Event though you will not be taken to prison, but, you will be compelled to do Community service and it will go into your record that you are an ex-convict.
According to him, “The widespread non-compliance by our citizens have been largely responsible for this increase in the spread during the second wave of Covid-19.
“A lot of people still have this misconception that Covid-19 is for the elites or for the urban dwellers. But from the evidence that we are seeing in Edo State during this second wave, which gives us a bit concern is that we are seeing transmission in areas outside of the traditional urban areas of spread during the first wave. Whereas during the first wave is the epicenter was Oredo, Egor and Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Areas. And we did not see much areas of the State.
“But, we are now seeing a lot of widespread in other parts of the State particularly in Esan West, Esan Central and Etsako West Local Government areas.
“COVID-19 is no longer an urban pandemic, but it is a state-wide; For we are confident that because we did it before and we will do it again.
“We have build the human capacity to respond by improving the skills of our healthcare workers through regular training and re-training.
“We have a very well coordinated surveillance system across the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo State including the entry and exit points into and outside the State.
“We have a Covid-19 testing capacity in Edo State today that can do as much as 600 tests everyday”, he said.
The Governor who advised operators of Club houses, bars, restaurants, weddings, funerals and worship Centres to reduce the carrying capacity of their carrying capacity by 30 per cent, disclosed Government plans to fumigate markets in the State in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.
He further announced the review of the curfew from 10p.m to 6a.m, adding that the tentative date for resumption of schools in the State will now be February 1, 2021.
The shift in resumption date, according to him, will enable relevant authorities in the State carry out on-the-spot assessment of the the measures put in place at the schools ahead of the resumption date.
“We have decided to review our curfew in Edo State. The curfew will now start 10.p.m and end at 5.a.m from today (Friday January 15, 2021”, he said.
The State deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu also said there would be enforcement teams in markets, parks, and other public places to ensure strict compliance.
In the meantime, the State Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport workers (NURTW), Mr. Odion Olaye, said the enforcement of no mask no entry of vehicle in the State, rule will begin on Monday January 18, 2021.