The welfare, security and well-being of all Kwarans are of utmost importance to our administration and, as such, we have embarked on a robust healthcare transformation agenda to give every Kwaran access to better quality and affordable healthcare.
At this moment, however, the world is faced with a viral pandemic caused by coronavirus. Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, is a new strain of coronavirus to infect humans. It was first detected in China and has now spread around the world, including Nigeria.
Currently, we have no confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kwara State. However, as a proactive government, and consistent with our determination to upgrade healthcare infrastructure in Kwara state, I have since approved funding for the construction of an isolation centre at the onset of our administration. Now, the number of cases in Nigeria is increasing, there are a total of 27 confirmed cases. The federal government of Nigeria is leading the fight against coronavirus by taking bold and decisive decisions that will save lives. In Kwara State, we are following the lead of the Federal government by mobilising all resources available to us to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Kwara.
Even so, basic preventive measures by individuals and communities remain the most powerful tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As individuals, we are all responsible for the general well-being of fellow Kwarans and should work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by:
1) washing our hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as much as possible daily;
2) avoiding touching our eyes, mouths, and noses;
3) covering our mouths and noses with our bent elbow or tissue when we cough or sneeze;
4) staying more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick and coughing, and wearing a mask if you are ill (especially if coughing) or looking after someone who is ill and coughing;
5) abstaining from handshaking until the threat of this COVID-19 is zero; and
6) avoiding crowded area and minimising any gathering to a maximum of 25.
As a community, we must do everything possible to prevent any transmission of COVID-19 by embracing the concept of social distancing and self-isolation. These measures are to prevent anyone that may be infected with COVID-19 from spreading the disease to others. An exponential spread of COVID-19 in our community might be catastrophic because we could have thousands of our citizens sick at the same time.
Given the aforementioned and the global health emergency situation, our administration has taken the following difficult but important decisions to protect Kwarans:
1) Closure of all public and private nurseries, primary, secondary and state-owned Tertiary institutions.
2) Aside from Ministry of health and essential workers, all civil servants are to work from home.
3) All gatherings of more than 25 people are hereby discouraged until further notice.
We need to encourage all Kwarans to get involved in this fight against COVID-19. We believe we will achieve desired results only if and when our people are properly sensitised on how to protect our communities from the virus.
We are determined to continue to make the necessary investments in healthcare to safeguard the lives of our people. A 20-bed high-quality isolation centre has been completed and equipped at Sobi Specialist Hospital and plans are underway to build additional and well-equipped 12-bed intensive care unit at the General Hospital, Ilorin.
We have put in place a “COVID-19 Technical Committee” comprising healthcare professionals and officials whose primary responsibility is to assist our administration in combating COVID-19 in Kwara State. This committee is headed by the Deputy Governor.
In addition to the above measures, including the emergency telephone lines already given by the Ministry of Health, you will be receiving regular briefings and bulletins from us on the development.
Finally, l wish to reassure all Kwarans of the determination of our administration to prevent, contain, and limit the impact of the pandemic on our people.
God bless Kwara State! God bless Nigeria.
Governor, Kwara State.
March 22, 2020.