Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II, has advised the Edo State Government to take urgent and strigent measures to forestall a proliferation of COVID-19 infections in the state by stopping inbound and outbound movement in the State.
In a letter to Governor Godwin Obaseki, dated April 16, 2020, Oba Ewuare II stated that the state government should, in addition, enforce strictly the ‘stay-at-home’ order as well as observance of social distancing practice.
He advised that these and other health and safety protocols recommended by health experts at the domestic and International levels would help to weaken the potential of further spread.
The Benin Monarch, who premised his call on the worrisome increase in the number of infected persons in Edo, emphasised that the above steps “are critical in the efforts to prevent the spread of the virus in the state and to forestall incidences of infections in the rural areas, where access to medical care are virtually non-existent.”
The letter reads in part: “Your Excellency, we respectfully wish to invite your attention to the incidented of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and the attendant risk of its continued spread among the people of Edo State.
“You may wish to recall the stakeholders meeting convened by Your Excellency with traditional rulers at the onset of the outbreak of the virus wherein I advised that the Edo State Government should take very seriously the issue of containment to mitigate its contraction and spread among citizens and residents of the state.
“However, we have observed with serious concern the rising number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in the state which as at the date of this letter has reached 15 persons with one death recorded.”
The Oba advised that as efforts to manage the confirmed cases were ongoing, adequate measures should also be taken to design and implement effective contact-tracing strategies,.
He advised that this was necessary to forestall a possible second wave of infections, which was imminent due to possibility of community transmission of the virus.
He urged the governor to heed the call as a matter of urgency as the temporary inconveniences envisaged by such proactive steps would pale into insignificance when compared to the possible loss of lives that could occur if critical steps were not taken at this moment.
The Oba advised that the government should adopt modern approaches to the unfortunate situation in the frontline territories in the country, expressing confidence that these approaches, though difficult, were necessary to forestall the spread of the virus for the safety and well-being of the good people of Edo State.
He said the state government could mitigate the health and economic impact of such steps by making available facemasks and hand sanitizers to citizens and residents as preventive and precautionary measures.
Ewuare II also said that government should provide the necessary support in the form of palliatives, especially for the poor, the vulnerable and less privileged ones as a way of cushioning the expected effects of the envisaged socio-economic disruptions.