Oyo State governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, formally resumed work on Monday and immediately conducted an inspection tour of the state’s largest isolation centre – Infectious Disease Centre, Olodo, Ibadan.
The governor, who appeared calm and relaxed, said that he was thankful to the people of the state for their fervent prayers during his isolation period.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, further quoted the governor as saying that his government plans to conduct COVID-19 tests on 10,000 persons in the state.
According to the statement, the governor added that the state was determined to win the battle against coronavirus, noting that if the state was able to test 10,000 persons within a short period, it would be able to stay ahead in the fight against COVID-19.
The 100-bed hospital was left in carcass by the immediate past administration in the state, which christened it Mother and Child Hospital.
Makinde’s administration took it upon itself to fix the facility and re-designate it Infectious Disease Centre, with the capacity to serve as isolation centres for 100 patients.
The governor maintained that though the efforts put in place by the government might not have hit the 100 per cent mark, there were clear signs that the state was ready to fight COVID-19.
He urged residents of the state to continue to support the government, while adhering strictly to the directives issued by the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force and medical experts.
Governor Makinde, who appreciated residents of the state for their prayers and support while he was recovering from COVID-19, also used the occasion to appreciate Professor Temitope Alonge, a former Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, who served as head of the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force while he was in isolation.
He said: “I want to especially thank Professor Temitope Alonge. I can see a lot of improvement here (Infectious Disease Centre) and can also see that we are ready to fight COVID-19. I have been in isolation myself, which I think was good. It was a period to reflect and look at the programmes, policies and all the things we want to do for the people of Oyo State. It was also a time to reflect on how COVID-19 is going to affect us socially and economically.
“I want to thank you all for your prayers and support. God really answered your prayers on my behalf. We are all in an uncharted territory with COVID-19, just like the experts have been telling me.
“We may not be 100 per cent perfect but I want you to continue to give us your support because we are here to work for you. We are here to ensure that no life is lost due to this pandemic. Please, continue to follow the directives of the Task Force. I am back to work now.
“Some jobless ones have been talking about who I should handed over to (while in isolation); whether it should be a Professor of Virology or not. I am not a Professor of Virology myself. When the experts speak, the people in position of leadership only need to apply common sense. The experts too have a room in there where they cross-pollinate ideas They discuss, challenge themselves and come up with the best course of action. So, it is the same thing for us in fighting this pandemic.
“So, let us all keep observing social distancing and hygienic condition. They told me that the virus is coward; Once you use water and soap to wash your hands very well, the virus will be destroyed. So, let us continue to observe all these hygienic practices.
“We will continue to brief you on a daily basis. We are in a situation that is fluid and things will keep evolving. If you have ideas, you are free to call us and we will listen to you. I acknowledge the fact that we are not perfect but we know that the Lord is with us in Oyo State.”
Earlier, Governor Makinde had, during a phone interview monitored on radio, re-emphasised the state’s commitment to fighting COVID-19 by scaling up the testing of members of the public to about 10,000 within a short period.
According to the governor, testing such large number of people remained the only way to get a handle on the situation regarding COVID-19 in Oyo State, as according to him, it would be impossible to ascertain the number of people who might have contracted the disease without scaling up the testing of samples.
He said: “I was asymptomatic throughout. So, without the test, I would not even have known that I had COVID-19. It’s the reason why we pushed for a testing centre in Ibadan so we can test more people who may have come in contact with COVID-19 cases. And my aspiration, which I already discussed with the Task Force team, and the EOC [Emergency Operations Centre], is that we must set a target to test close to 10,000 people in Oyo State. We are setting up to have that done. For us, if we are able to meet that target, we will be able to map the state correctly.
“Yeah, we can wall off communities if we see cases of the virus in those communities. It is the only way that we can stay ahead of the curve and get a handle of what is really going on in Oyo State. We are doing the planning right now and I have not been told by the experts that this is possible for us and I think we will stay ahead of the national effort. That is the trajectory that we are pushing to get to.”