BROADCAST BY HIS EXCELLENCY,DIST. SEN HOPE UZODIMMA, EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF IMO STATE, TO IMO PEOPLE ON MEASURES TO PREVENT AND CONTROL THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (CORVID 19) ON FRIDAY MARCH 20th, 2020.
My beloved people of Imo state. I address you today with a deep sense of responsibility and concern for our collective health and wellbeing. I am aware that many of us are genuinely worried about the global Coronavirus pandemic and the grave life threatening consequences that comes in its trail.
We have every reason to be anxious particularly given the fact that this dreaded virus appears to be spreading world over with the speed of lightning and worse still, causing thousands of deaths in the process. However while we have every reason to be anxious, we must not panic.
As life threatening as the disease is, we can prevent and control it through vigorous public health enlightenment and by taking necessary steps to nip the disease in the bud. This will require both self discipline and a few sacrifices. I have no doubt that you are willing and able to do the needful to protect our lives and ensure that no one is a victim of the virus
As a responsible government we have done our homework and I can assure you that there is truly no cause for alarm. All the necessary measures have been put in place to ensure that the virus does not find a breeding space in Imo state. Be rest assured that we shall not leave any stone unturned in ensuring that our people are safe, well protected by providing the necessary tools and expertise needed for maximum protection from the Coronavirus pandemic
To this end I have inaugurated a star studded Coronavirus prevention and control committee to commence round the clock surveillance of all strata of the state for effective prevention and control of the disease. This committee is headed by Professor Maurice Iwu, who as we may know is almost at the verge of inventing a cure for the disease. In addition the committee has experienced public health care providers as members, including members of the Nigerian Medical Association. I have no doubt that we have all it takes to guarantee that we are safe from the deadly fangs of the virus
To ensure this, the government will spare no resources to facilitate the committee’s assignment which is to do all that is necessary to ensure that the Coronavirus does not have a foothold in Imo state. Consequently adequate funds have been made available for it to carry out its assignment without let or hindrance. As I address you, the committee has already swung into action and I can assure you that very soon it will come up with a comprehensive anti Coronavirus spread template that will ensure that Imo state is clinically safe from the deadly virus
A state of the art modern ambulance has been provided for the committee to facilitate its operations. This ambulance is equipped with necessary medical gadgets for quick analysis and test for the virus and will be on 24 hour standby to respond to any emergency anywhere in the state
In addition, we are liaising with the national centre for disease control to ensure that we buy into the federal government’s Coronavirus prevention roadmap. Similarly we are tracking global updates on the disease so as to remain ever vigilant on global efforts at control and eradication.
Thinking ahead we have also concluded arrangements to establish a specialist hospital specifically charged with control and prevention of contagious diseases. This way we will ensure that neither Coronavirus nor any other contagious virus for that matter will be a threat to our people in the future.
Further to these measures we have set up an isolation centre within the state capital to quarantine any person who tests positive to the virus. A test centre has equally been set up, also in Owerri, to test those with symptoms of the virus.
To this end, arrangements have been put in place to test all passengers arriving at Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri of symptoms of the virus. Any passenger that manifests signs of the symptoms will first be taken to a bay that has been set up at the airport for further examination. If confirmed that the symptoms are manifest, the passenger will immediately be taken to the test centre for tests and if positive quarantined at the isolation centre
In addition the state ministry of health has been directed to immediately provide hand sanitizers to all government ministries and agencies. Visitors to all government offices must be made to sanitize their hands with these sanitizers. Likewise staff of government offices, who have dealings with the public, should regularly sanitize their hands.
Residents are advised to wash their hands frequently with running water for 20 seconds and allow to dry. They should also, as much as possible, avoid crowds and close contacts with others
As a further safety and preventive measure, our people are advised to avoid unnecessary public gatherings and or when they so do never forget to wash their hands regularly with soap and running water and allow to dry. Those who can should carry small bottles of hand sanitizers and use it regularly to sanitize their hands
Sellers and buyers in all markets in the state must forthwith form the habit of regularly washing their hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds and allow to dry. All super markets in the state must ensure without fail that their customers are sanitized before being allowed to enter their supermarkets.
The use of hand sanitizers is also strongly recommended for traders and their customers. Sellers and buyers should maintain reasonable distance between themselves, while trying to buy or sell.
Furthermore market union Leaders should avail themselves of infrared thermometer to periodically test cases of fever or illness among their members in the market.
To ensure the safety of our children, in schools, educational institutions in the state, Secondary, Primary and Tertiary are to ensure that students wash their hands as frequently as possible with soap and running water for 20 seconds and allow to dry. The authorities should also provide sanitizers at strategic entry points in the schools; such as halls, cafeterias etc. Also day students should be made to sanitize their hands before entering the school premises.
As much as possible all Imo state residents are advised to keep away from unnecessary body contacts while in the public domain.
As an additional preventive measure, residents returning from countries and states with active COVID-19 cases, must self-isolate for 14-days and contact the RAPID RESPONSE CENTRE (RRC) arm of the professor Iwu committee. The committee will release dedicated phone numbers for contact with its RRC unit for this purpose. Members of the public should also avail themselves of these numbers to pass any information to the RRC that can help the fight against COVID 19
All hotels in the state must provide a hand wash platform and hand sanitizers. Guests should be made to regularly wash their hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds and allow to dry. Guests must be made to sanitize their hands with sanitizers before checking into rooms.
Management of all hotels must also take the temperature of guests and visitors with a non-contact infra-red thermometer. Any guest with high temperature above 38 degrees Celsius must be reported to the RRC for further examination
Likewise the management of restaurants and nightclubs must check the temperature of their guests and staff and report those with temperature above 38 degrees to the RRC. Hotels are also to report their guests arriving from outside the country to the RRC for immediate examination.
To ensure effective monitor of human traffic in and out of Imo state, all luxurious bus owners and operators are hereby directed to maintain a travel manifest for inbound and outbound passengers. They must also provide hand wash stands and hand sanitizers in their buses.
Passengers are consequently encouraged to wash their hands with soap and running water and sanitize them before boarding
All intrastate buses are hereby directed to provide hand sanitizers in their buses and passengers are to use same before embarking on the vehicle, and as regularly as necessary
To ensure that these measures are strictly adhered to, the COVID 19 prevention committee has set up an adhoc monitoring unit to enforce compliance
These measures are preventive measures aimed at keeping Imo state safe from Coronavirus. We shall however remain vigilant for any development and when necessary more measures will be put in place to handle such developments.
A recent United States health report just released has confirmed that the Coronavirus will last for 18 months or more. This means that we must remain perpetually vigilant to ensure that the virus does not get to Imo state. Since the universities are on strike, the authorities are hereby directed to clear with the government before announcing any resumption date.
My beloved people of Imo state we are taking these elaborate steps to ensure that your health and wellbeing remain a non negotiable priority of my administration. You will do well to religiously abide by the simple dos and don’ts outlined above. The need for us all to make necessary sacrifices to prevent the virus cannot be overemphasized.
In addition we must try and avoid travelling outside the state as much possible to avoid exposing ourselves to risks
I am confident that these measures will prevent and control COVID 19 and that as soon as possible we shall return to a normal situation and the inconveniences of the present will become things of the past
In the meantime, be rest assured that the Coronavirus threat will be contained in Imo state and you and your loved ones will remain safe.
Thank you all and God bless
Long live Ndi Imo
Long live Imo State
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria