COVID-19: Kwara gives conditions as worship centres open June 5

• State discharges seven more patients

Kwara State Government on Wednesday said worship centres may reopen from Friday June 5th on the condition that they satisfy certain criteria already agreed with various religious umbrella bodies in the state.

The government however warned that the concession for churches and mosques to reopen does not mean that the state has flattened the curve of transmission of COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision came hours after the Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 held a marathon meeting with the leadership of the Muslim and Christian communities, including the Jama’atu Nasrul Islam (JNI) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

“We are definitely not out of the woods as cases continue to rise especially because of violation of travel restrictions,” Kayode Alabi, Deputy Governor and Chairman of Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19, told reporters late Wednesday in Ilorin.

The below is the full text of the press briefing:

Today, June 3rd, 2020, the Kwara State Government Technical Committee on COVID-19 held a meeting with various religious leaders and umbrella bodies, especially the Jama’atu Nasrul Islam (JNI) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). The meeting centred around whether or not to reopen the worship centres across the state, as suggested by the Federal Government. The below are the outcomes of the meeting:

• We are definitely not out of the woods as cases continue to rise especially because of violation of travel restrictions

• It is preferred that worship centres should remain shut until it is clear that the curve of transmission has been flattened 

• However, in line with the presidential advisory and the positions of our religious umbrella bodies in Kwara State, worship centres in Kwara State may reopen from June 5th (Friday) provided they satisfy the following conditions:

• Worship centres shall be organised (by the respective head of the congregation) in such a way that one attendant is at least one metre away from the next. 

• Each worship centre shall make provisions for hand washing or hand sanitisers, and infrared thermometer 

• Wearing of face masks shall be mandatory for all worshippers

• There shall be no hand shaking or hugging among worshippers

• Children remain restricted from worship centres. People above 65 or persons with underlying health conditions are urged to stay away from worship centres

• Muslims should perform ablution from their own houses. Ablution spots are not allowed for now to avoid the spread of the virus. 

• Muslim women are to stay away from mosques, as suggested by the leadership of the Muslim community in the state. 

• Each worship centre is to dedicate a few minutes before service or prayers to educate attendants about COVID-19 and its dangers

• Adequate ventilation is to be ensured at each worship centre

• Government’s RRT shall conduct random visit to worship centres to take samples and do temperature checks

• Government shall hold affected religious leaders responsible for non compliance with all COVID-19-related safety measures in their worship centres. This is as agreed by the religious umbrella bodies.

• Government demands full compliance with all protocols as failure to do so is a huge drain on public resources.

• The leadership of religious communities agreed that any worship centre that violates these provisions would be shut down and its leadership strictly held accountable.

• Finally, I am glad to inform you that we are again discharging seven of our COVID-19 patients who have twice tested negative. All the remaining patients are stable and doing well — thanks to the government’s efforts and the commitment of our healthcare officials who are doing so well to keep the flag flying.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/
Spokesman, Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19
May 3rd, 2020.

Kwara explains rising COVID cases, restates need for test centre

• Says new cases, contacts of imported patients

• Calls on security agencies to strengthen border

• To announce position on worship centres 

Kwara State Government has said the sudden peak in the number of COVID-19 cases on Monday followed a deliberate effort of the committee to contact-trace and test all persons and health workers that have had contacts with two persons that recently sneaked into the state and tested positive to the virus. 

The government added that all but one of the 23 new cases posted on Monday — the highest in a day since the outbreak — were already in isolation before the test result as they had long been identified as “persons of interest” on account of their close contacts with a pregnant woman who sneaked in from Zamfara and later tested positive.

The woman was briefly treated at the Ilorin General Hospital and later at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital where she underwent an operation and later tested positive, leading to contact tracing and testing of over 180 people.  

“Various precautionary measures have since been taken at the two hospitals, including disinfection of relevant wards, relocation of other patients to some other wards, testing of all the contacts, and a renewed emphasis on the need for healthcare workers to treat every patient as a potential COVID-19 case,” Rafiu Ajakaye, spokesman of the State Technical Committee on COVID-19, said in a statement.

“For the record, the rise in the cases was a result of government’s proactiveness in rounding up all contacts and testing all of them. Insinuations about the lack of PPEs or shortage of same are unfounded and reckless.”

The government said the 23 cases included a contact of a deceased whose corpse was brought into Kwara State from the neighbouring Ekiti State.

“The government has therefore despatched a Rapid Response Team to begin an aggressive contact tracing of the case in the affected community for another round of test,” the statement added.

“So far, 75 percent of our cases were imported. There is no record of community spread yet in Kwara. While we commend the security agencies for what they are doing, we urge them to do much more to secure our borders and prevent influx of people into the state. The new 23 cases, as many before now, were a backlash from porous borders.

“We would like to state that Kwara’s performance in COVID-19 management is one of the best in the country. As of May 30, our percentage of recoveries/discharges is 43%, far above the national average of 29%. Our percentage of mortality is 1.15%. It is well below the national average of 2.81%. The state also ranks among the best in terms of high index of suspicion as can be seen in the number of positive cases compared to the test done. For every 100 test done in Kwara, seven is positive, whereas the national average is 16 for every 100 tests done.

“Even so, the government is not taking chances. Apart from constant supplies of PPEs and designation of holdings rooms across our facilities for suspicious cases, the government has intensified engagements with hospital heads and trainings for health workers to be on top of their game. 

“In time of pandemic and other emergencies, it is a crime for anyone or entity to undermine a system put in place to protect the people. The government therefore warns that any action that purports to kill the morale of our health workers and those in the frontline of this national emergency will not be tolerated.”

The government meanwhile has called on the Federal Government to expedite action on setting up of at least a COVID-19 test centre in the state to strengthen the capacity to test more samples and urge people to come up for voluntary testing. 

The government said it is willing to offer all the necessary cooperation to ease the setting up of the facility. 

“Similarly, the government will soon announce the modalities for relaxing the lockdown order on worship centres in the state. The government sincerely commends the patience and understanding of our religious and traditional rulers while urging them to actively join the sensitisation campaign about the virus,” the statement added.

It said the government is to meet with the leadership of the Muslim and Christian communities in the state on Wednesday to fashion out the way forward on the proposed reopening of worship centres.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/
Spokesman, Technical Committee on COVID-19
June 3, 2020.

NCDC COMMENDS KWARA, TO SET UP TESTING CENTRE IN THE STATE

The National Center for Disease Control, NCDC has commended the Kwara State Government’s efforts in the fight against novel Coronavirus.

NCDC team leader, Dr Okoli Innocent gave the commendation when he led other members of the Center to Kwara to inspect laboratories in preparation for establishing of Molecular Testing Centre in the state to test for the virus.

Dr Okoli explained that the Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu who sent the team on inspection visit is appreciative of the AbdulRahman administration’s strides in the health sector and has pledged the NCDC’s support to the state in the fight against COVID-19.

He added that he was not surprised that kwara state is ranked fourth in preparation for health emergency in the country, given the availability of state of the art medical equipment such as ten ventilators, six gene Xperts, ICU beds among many others in the state’s health facilities visited by the team.

Dr Okoli who is a Molecular Biology expert gave an assurance that as soon as the team’s final report on staff training and re-training, provision of more molecular diagnostic equipments, as well as reorganization of laboratories is concluded, the NCDC would swing into action to optimize and increase the state’s testing capacity.

Responding, the Chairman Covid 19 technical committee, Mr Kayode Alabi, who was represented by the Kwara state Commissioner for Health, Dr Raji Abdulrasaq appreciated the NCDC for the move to set of Molecular Testing Center in the state, he added that the priority of Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is to reduce medical tourism both for diagnosis and treatment in the state.

Mr Alabi expressed optimism that Kwara would soon own a Molecula laboratory for COVID-19 testing, stressing that the state will no longer have to take samples to Ede in Osun state or Ibadan in Oyo state for testing.

Other members of the Technical Committee who received the NCDC team are Chairman Kwara House of Assembly Committee on Health, Mr Razaq Owolabi, Chairman of Sub committee on Medical Advisory, Dr Femi Oladiji and Dr Oluwatosin Fakayode.

The NCDC team had earlier donated 1000 pieces each of Viral Transport Medium, Swab sticks and Tongue depressors as well as 320 pieces of Falcon Tubes.

The team also inspected the Public Health Laboratory, Harmony Diagnostic Centre and the former Sobi Specialist Hospital which has been turned to COVID-19 / Infectious Disease Centre.

Modupe Joel
Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor
May 21, 2020

COVID-19: Kwara commends NNPC for ambulance gift

• TETFUND, Hon. Olawuyi, Ashaolu SAN, Gani Adams, Shagaya Foundation, others donate

Kwara State Government has commended the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for donating one new Toyota ambulance to the state as part of its own corporate efforts to strengthen national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We acknowledge receipt of the top quality ambulance from the NNPC. It is a great addition to the fleet of brand new military-grade ambulances with which the government is prosecuting the counter-COVID operations in the state,” Rafiu Ajakaye, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and Spokesman of the Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The government and people of Kwara State are very grateful to the leadership of the NNPC for the great gesture which fits into the support the Federal Government and its agencies have been offering to state governments since the outbreak.”

The government also commended corporate bodies and individuals who have equally donated cash and or materials for the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the state, saying their support at these times will never be forgotten.

“The government is grateful for the humanitarian gestures to boost its effort in curtailing the spread of the virus as well as cushioning the effects of the pandemic and the lockdown on the Kwara populace,” the statement added.

The government specifically acknowledged Chief Titus Ashaolu (SAN) for the donation of two water dispensers and five packs of hand sanitiser; the Salman Shagaya Foundation for the gift of 460 cartons of indomie, spaghetti and salt; the Professional Association of Public Health Nursing officers of Nigeria for giving three cartons of 70ml hand sanitiser, and one carton of 100ml hand sanitiser; Mr. Owolabi Oakleaf Pharmaceutical for donating 50 copies of face shade, 18 cartons of 100ml hand sanitiser, 10 cartons of 500ml hand sanitiser; and the Integrated Fish Farmers Association of Kwara State which gifted the government four cartons of smoked fish.

It commended Prince Victor Kolade of Victory Signs International who donated 1000 pieces of stickers and five big banners on COVID19; City International Dimension construction Limited for its donation of 150 bags of 10 kg rice, 200 cartons of indomie, 200 spaghetti; Halima Lami Jibril of Sheikha Ramla for the donation of 100 pieces of fabric face mask; and Engineer Sunday Babalola for gifting the government 2000 pieces of fabric face masks.

“We also sincerely thank the Tertiary Education Trust Fund( TETFUND) for donating 3,326 bags of 5kg rice, 1934 bags of 5kg semo, 613 packs of spaghetti; Amana Farmers and Grains suppliers Association, Kwara State, for donating 850 pieces of fabric face masks; Oodua Progressive Union World Wide for the sum of N500,000; the Kwara State Agency for Mass Education for presenting eight dozens of hand sanitiser, 290 pieces of face mask, 11 dozens of liquid soap; Mubab Nigeria Limited for donating two cartons of 100 ml hand sanitiser; five cartons of 250 ml hand sanitiser and Goshen Foundation, Ilorin, for 500 pieces of fabric face mask,” the statement said.

“We commend Strategy and Innovation for Development Initiative, Kwara State, for the gift of one pack of face mask, two surgical guns, two 3m safety Goggles, one pack of latex examination gloves; and Mainstream Energy Solution Limited for donating 750 3M N95 masks, 300 Tyec Cat, splash resistant suit, 100 packs of Nitrile gloves, 50 Reusable gloves, 50 utility gloves, 200 Goggle wraps, 15 Infrared thermometer, 100 Boots, 200 Disposable masks, 100 bottles of hand sanitiser 500ml, 500 Disposable apron, 200 Microcide lp, 300 bottles of Disinfectant (5 litres), 50 Disposable gloves, and 4 Steam sterilisers.”

The statement also specially commended the Aare Ona Kakanfo Iba Ganiu Adams (OPC) who donated N300,000 to the committee; Olam Group for donating 3000 cartons of (500g) crown spaghetti; Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation for donating 1,500 pieces of face mask; Federation of Women Lawyers (Kwara State chapter) for donating 1000 pieces of face mask; Hon. AbdulKareem Yusuf Zarumi for donating 700 pieces of face mask; and Hon. AbdulRaheem Tunji Olawuyi Ajuloopin for gifting 210 pieces of face shield, 100 pieces of KN95 respiratory nose mask, and 150 pieces of medical goggles to the committee.

“The government cannot thank these donor corporate organisations and individuals enough for the huge support to its campaign against the pandemic and the effort to ease the effects on the masses in the state,” it added.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/
Spokesman, Technical Committee on COVID-19
May 20, 2020.