The Edo State Government will on Wednesday begin enforcement of restrictions on large public gatherings for persons without evidence of COVID-19 vaccination within its offices.
The move is a part of intensified efforts to contain the pandemic and protect the majority of residents against the deadly virus, following progressive rise in the number of infections and mortalities in the state.
The state has so far recorded 1,034 confirmed cases and 53 fatalities in the third wave of the pandemic, with about 20 deaths of those who were not inoculated with the vaccines in the last four days.
With a progressive rise in test positivity rate in the past nine weeks, young people less than 50 years old account for over 73.1 per cent of total confirmed cases in Edo, while unvaccinated persons account for over 98 per cent of all fatalities recorded in the state.
Speaking to reporters during the state’s daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the Government House in Benin City, Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Health, Dr. Osamwonyi Irowa, said entry into government offices will only be allowed on presentation of proof of vaccination.
According to him, “if you have to enter the state secretariat and other government offices, you must have your vaccination cards; we are going to implement this in all the key areas to ensure that we don’t have people being infected because the other person is proving difficult.”
Irowa noted: “The first phase of the enforcement, which begins tomorrow, September 15, is targeted at state government facilities.
“Those that cannot provide their COVID-19 vaccination cards may have to excuse us and be working from home, pending when a decision will be reached. As a state, we are doing everything possible to make sure that people don’t get infected.
“We are appealing to our people to get vaccinated because that is the more suitable way to prevent the severity of the disease and avoid death. The enforcement teams will commence tomorrow to help us reduce the number of cases and deaths that we are recording daily.”
On his part, the Head of COVID-19 Enforcement Team, Mr. Yusuf Haruna, said the government has trained 20 special teams spread across the state to commence the enforcement of “no vaccination, no entry into government-owned facilities.”
Haruna said: “As we all know, the government has the responsibility of protecting the lives and property of citizens. In view of this, we have trained 20 special teams that will be spread across the 18 local government areas of the state.
“They will commence this enforcement from the 15th of September, 2021. What we expect our people to do is that, while going to work, they should go with their vaccination cards. The government is not forcing anybody to take the vaccines, but it has the responsibility to tell you not to spread the virus.”