…Shuts down schools, advises on distancing, limit on congregations, social gatherings
…as state Executive Council holds emergency session over covid-19
By Ogechi Okorie
Gombe (Precise Post) – Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe state has inaugurated a 21-member state Taskforce to review and monitor Coronavirus pandemic in the state.
The Taskforce is to be headed by a renowned professor of immunology and infectious diseases, Professor Idris Mohammed.
Inaugurating the committee at council chamber of the Government House, Governor Yahaya said the constitution of the Taskforce became necessary as part of preventive measures to contain the dreaded global pandemic.
The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media and Publicity, Ismaila Uba Misilli in a statement to Precise Post said the Governor gave the committee the following 10 points terms of reference:
- Assess the situation in the state in terms of the risk of the outbreak occurrence and design a response plan to prevent, contain and mitigate the consequences of such outbreak
- Identify a suitable isolation center (s) for the management of moderate to severe form of Covid 19 and equip such center (s) with required equipment including ventilators
- Ensure the availability of necessary consumables and other medical supplies critical for the management of Covid 19 outbreak in the state
- Identify and recommend to the Government a Laboratory facility in the state for upgrading to a Covid 19 compatible Public health Laboratory for testing of suspected cases
- Coordinate a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder response to the containment of the Pandemic
- Mobilize resources required for the Covid 19 response in the state
- Facilitate the training of relevant health care workers in the State on the management and containment of Covid 19
- Design and Implement risk Communication strategies including robust community engagement, sensitization and mobilization of the general public and community leaders to minimize the impact of the outbreak
- Recommend to the Government other measures needed to strengthen the state’s health system capacity to respond effectively and adequately to emergency situations in the future
- Provide weekly update and report to the Executive Governor and the Executive Council on the situation (Covid 19 response). Governor Inuwa Yahaya charged the committee not to spare any effort towards combating the Pandemic should the virus is reported in the State.
The Tasforce chairman, Prof. Idris Mohammed thanked the Governor for exhibiting courage in setting up the the committee despite the fact that there is no reported case of the virus in the State.
Professor Mohammed said the World is facing a global health emergency of unprecedented proportion which demands the buy in of all and sundry to mitigate its spread.
He said there is no place or time to play politics with convid-19, assuring the Governor that the committee will deliver on its mandate.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya had earlier in a statewide live broadcast, urged the people of the state not despair or get discouraged, assuring that with continuous effort and perseverance, the challenges will be overcome.
The Governor announced that” in accordance with the directives by the Presidential Task force on COVID 19, all schools in the state are hereby directed to close effective from tomorrow Tuesday 24th March, 2020 until further notice”.
” Furthermore, congregations for ceremonies, religious and other social activities are advised to limit numbers so as to not exceed the 50-person maximum as advised by the committee”.
He assured of his administration’s effort and commitment to fight the coronavirus disease, while appealling to the citizenry to complement government’s effort in the fight against the dreaded disease irrespective of different shades of opinion or position.
He said people must come to terms with the fact that the human race is facing one of its greatest challenges in history, urging traditional rulers, community and religious leaders to join in the enlightenment and sensitization on the dangers of the disease and the need to adhere strictly to medical advice.
“Our Government has always taken the health of its people as a serious business. It is against this background that we released funds to the Ministry of health in order to facilitate public sensitization on preventive measures against the disease, enhance surveillance activities for early detection of potential cases and ensure that medical supplies and equipment’s are stockpiled in the event of occurrence of the disease in our state”.
“I will like to assure you that we have been monitoring the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic with keen interest, and all the proactive measures we took were guided by advice from technical experts. The reality is that COVID-19 is already at our door-steps, we must therefore brace-up to face this challenge. Over the next few weeks, we shall continue to review the situation and might have to make tough decisions where and when necessary. There is no easy way out of this very difficult situation”.
The state Governor also convened an emergency executive council meeting, where he charged cabinet members to brace up and take all necessary measures to combat the dreaded disease.