Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki has announced the recovery and discharge of five persons out of the 15 who tested positive to COVID-19 in the state. One person had so far died of the disease in the state. Obaseki announced this on his Facebook page Friday morning. In the terse message, the governor said “I am pleased to announce that five (5) of the confirmed have tested negative for #coronavirus (COVID-19) in our dear state. They have thus been discharged. This bolsters our resolve to defeat this common enemy, as we roll out more measures to check the spread of the virus and save more lives in the state”. With this development, Edo now has 10 confirmed cases. The magazine learnt that one person was discharged from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital and others from the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua.
The news of the discharge of the five persons has brought some relief to residents of the state. First to react was a governorship aspirant in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who in a statement released by the director of communication and media of his campaign organization, John Mayaki commended the state government for the feat and encouraged the people to see the development as more reason not to despair but to cling onto hope that the state would defeat the virus.
Ize-Iyamu, a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, and erstwhile secretary to the state government, said: “I received the news of the recovery and discharge of the five patients with huge relief. It is an encouraging development that will no doubt strengthen the hopes of the people and assure them that, indeed, we can win the battle against COVID-19 and return to normalcy again.”
Ize-Iyamu urged the government not to rest on its oars but to address other areas requiring improvement in the fight against COVID-19 including expanding the state’s testing capacity, slow the spread of the virus, protect the people against starvation, and ensure that other recoveries are recorded.
As the figure of confirmed cases continued to soar, concerned citizens had advocated a total lockdown of the state to be able to stem the tide. A few days ago, former minister of state for works and a governorship aspirant also on the platform of the APC, Chris Ogiemwonyi, said it was time to shut down the state. He told Tell in an interview, “If you look at the statistics, I think we are the state with the highest after Lagos, Ogun, FCT, and one other state; I think we are almost number four. So, many states are doing lockdown and I am recommending that the time is appropriate for us to lock down the state”.
According to him, “we should equally shut our gates to outsiders coming to the state so that we can manage the situation within the state, otherwise we don’t pray for the negative aspect. If there is an explosion of this number of patients, I doubt if we are ready to curtail it”. Also, a former attorney-general and former commissioner for justice in the state, Henry Idahagbon said “considering the mode of transmission of the virus, the best way to check its continued spread is to lock-in everyone that is yet to contract the virus while we go after those who have contracted it for assessment and treatment”.
Ize-Iyamu however differed, warning that implementing a complete lockdown in Edo state without accompanying state-wide efforts to cater to the needs of the people and provide them with food and care, would lead to starvation and create worse problems for the government in its bid to tackle the challenge of COVID-19. He suggested a revised approach in the management of COVID-19 that reflects the realities of Edo state rather than replicating measures advanced in European countries where the government has a comprehensive database of its people and the resource strength to provide food and other basic needs to everyone in an inclusive and fast manner.
The governorship hopeful said although lockdown could help to prevent an introduction of the virus, the measure has run its course in Edo state where confirmed cases have already been recorded. He appealed to the government to consider other measures including an improved testing capacity for quick identification of cases and isolation of infected persons, social distancing, to slow spread, and economic interventions targeted at special sectors, instead of shutting down the state’s economy and locking people up in their homes to battle with the unforgiving pangs of hunger.
“Instead of shutting down the whole state without really providing what the people can survive on, I appeal to the state government to consider a partial lockdown and focus resources on supplying food to the people through investments in rural farming, set up of a food bank and special food markets, wider testing capacity across the state to promptly identify infected persons and isolate them, social distancing in markets and other similar areas, and motivation for health workers through investments in their working environment and personal reward”, Ize-Iyamu stated.