Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State in South-South Nigeria has suspended the resumption of schools in the state over the increasing cases of COVID-19.
Schools in the state had earlier planned to resume on January 18, 2021, in line with the Federal Government’s directive.
But in a statement issued on Friday, Obaseki said schools are to remain shut till February 1, 2021. He said the realities at that time would be reviewed and government would decide if it would be safe to reopen schools.
Obaseki also reviewed the curfew earlier imposed on the state to now be from 10pm to 5am.
“Comparing the first six weeks of the pandemic from March 23, 2020, with the first six weeks since December 1, 2020, Edo State has witnessed an 84.5 percent rise in the number of infected persons,” the statement read in part.
“There has also been a 10.5 percent increase in the number of older persons infected with Covid-19. It is early days yet, but we have evidence suggesting that more older persons infected with COVID-19 are dying.
“Most of the cases in the early phase of the pandemic were travel-related but since December 2020, there has been a 13.9 percent increase in community transmission of the disease.
“This is a big concern especially with the evidence before us that there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of persons infected with COVID-19 who show no signs or symptoms of the disease, but are transmitting it in our communities. Our children and youth are major contributors to this group.
“Schools are to remain shut till February 1, 2021, when the prevailing realities are to be reviewed to determine if it would be safe to reopen the schools.
“Curfew is now reviewed from 10 pm to 5 am effective Saturday 16th January 2021.”
The governor also issued new rules for religious gatherings.
“Handwashing stations with running water and liquid soap/alcohol-based hand sanitizers must be provided at entry and exit points. There must be temperature checks at entrance points and facemasks must be used correctly and consistently,” Obaseki said.
“Sitting in gatherings should not exceed a maximum of 30% of capacity per session and ensure physical distancing (at least 1.5m) must be adhered to. The length of meetings should not exceed 1 hour and there must be breaks in-between sessions for decontamination. Children below 12 years and adults above 60 years should stay at home.
“Monitoring/Enforcement teams must be set up and include powerful and influential religious leaders as drivers. There must be sensitization on covid-19 prevention during every meeting. Written commendation by the governor and deputy governor will be issued to religious institutions who show good compliance to Covid-19 preventive measures.”
Edo is one of the state most affected by the pandemic in Nigeria. As of Friday night, the state had recorded a total of 3,204 infections.