No fewer than 400,000 residents of Gombe State would receive palliative items as part of efforts to cushion effects of measures introduced to curtail COVID-19 Spread in the state.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya disclosed this on Friday during a statewide broadcast to update citizens about COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor said: ”…At the same time we shall continue to keep in mind the economic and social impact of enforced restrictions on the health and well-being of our people. In this regards, we shall embark on the distribution of our palliative package which is targeting to reach 30 most vulnerable households in all the 2,218 polling units across the entire state which translates to about 66,000 households or 400,000 individuals.”
My dear people of Gombe State.
2. It is with profound gratitude to Allah (SWT) that I address you once again on the corona virus pandemic and the reviewed measures taken by the Government in order to contain its spread in our dear State. As you are aware, the COVID – 19 pandemic has continued to ravage the world with more than 4 million infected persons globally and over 5,000 confirmed cases in Nigeria as at today.
3. In Gombe State, our first case of COVID – 19 was reported about a month ago, precisely on the 19th April, 2020 when five returnees from Lagos – one of them an indigene of Borno State who was on transit to Biu tested positive to the virus. Since then, the numbers kept growing steadily. As at this morning, a total of 124 cases were diagnosed in our state.
4. It could be recalled that even before the first case was reported, our government took proactive measures by constituting a Task Force headed by a renowned Professor of Immunology and Infectious Disease, Prof. Idris Mohammed, to design, implement and monitor our preparedness and response plans aimed at preventing and containing spread of the virus in our state.
5. In addition to making available adequate isolation, treatment and quarantine facilities, other mitigation measures taken included the closure of our border entry points and schools, ban on all social, religious and cultural gatherings, stay at home order for civil servants below grade level 12, suspending the activities of commercial motorcycles and the imposition of an overnight curfew throughout the state.
6. As a concerned government, we opted for mild restrictive measures being fully mindful of the consequences a total lock down would have caused on the economic and social life of our people who are mostly farmers that depend on the raining season which has already set in for their major pre-occupation.
7. On the medical front, our case management strategy is yielding encouraging results. So far, a total of 1,272 samples were collected and sent for testing out of which 124 turned out positive and were all isolated and managed according to the guidelines issued by the NCDC. Eighty-Six (87) of the confirmed cases have so far fully recovered and were discharged with only 1 death recorded in the state. Currently, there are 36 active cases in our state. As evidenced by these statistics, Gombe State is recognised by the NCDC as one of the states in the country that is effectively and efficiently managing this pandemic in accordance with international best practices.
8. That notwithstanding, some of the patients took to the streets protesting poor management at the isolation centres. While we intervened and improved on our case management strategies, we are aware of the deliberate attempt of some mischievous elements to politicize the covid 19 pandemic in the state. However, we shall remain focused and would never be distracted by the actions or activities of an unguided few in our effort to protect the lives of the generality of our people.
9. As global projection shows, the coronavirus pandemic might linger on for some time from now, therefore, our strategy must be dynamic and sustainable in line with the recommended protocols in order to be able to effectively manage the pandemic. At the same time we shall continue to keep in mind the economic and social impact of enforced restrictions on the health and well-being of our people. In this regards, we shall embark on the distribution of our palliative package which is targeting to reach 30 most vulnerable households in all the 2,218 polling units across the entire state which translates to about 66,000 households or 400,000 individuals.
10. Following the persistent calls for government to re-open worship centres for congregational prayers, we held consultative meetings with religious leaders and heads of security agencies in the State to review the restriction order. While majority supported the call, some cautiously approved of it. It is against this backdrop that Government has resolved to gradually ease the restrictions in our dear state by re-opening places of worship but with strict adherence and compliance to the following guidelines.
(i) strict observance of social distancing;
(ii) compulsory wearing of face masks;
(iii) regular hand washing with soap and water;
(iv) limiting the number of persons in each congregation to not more than 20-50 persons depending on the size of the worship centre.
11. Similarly, we are also adjusting the curfew time to be from 8pm to 6am daily with effect from today.
12. Also, civil servants on Grade level 9 and above are hereby directed to resume work with effect from Monday 25th May, 2020 while strictly observing the new guidelines in their places of work. However, all other existing measures to curb the spread of the virus especially the ban of commercial motorcycles, interstate travels, closure of all schools and borders shall remain in effect.
13. I call on the entire people of Gombe State to adhere strictly to these new guidelines and take responsibility for containing the spread of the Corona Virus in our state, both as individuals or as groups. While we will continue to monitor and ensure that there is no community transmission, we would however not hesitate to revert to the previous order or to take more drastic measures should the need arise.
14. At this juncture, I would like to, most sincerely, appreciate Corporate Organizations, Institutions and Individuals who identified with us during this difficult period by contributing in cash or in kind to enable us sustain the fight against this dreaded disease. Equally, we appreciate the incredible work of the state Task force on covid-19, all our frontline health workers and other stakeholders for their commitment and dedication in our collective struggle against the pandemic.
15. Thank you for listening and may Allah bless us all. Please stay safe!
Long Live Gombe state!
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!