Despite the rising number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Oyo State, Governor Seyi Makinde has maintained that there will be no lockdown in the state.
Makinde restated this position while speaking in an interview with Fresh FM on Monday morning. He also said that the state will begin the distribution of aid this week while civil servants from level 13 had been directed to resume this Monday.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Oyo State has 21 confirmed cases of coronavirus, out of the 1,273 cases in Nigeria as of Sunday night.
“The economic health of the state is as important as the public health,” Mr Makinde said. “As I have often said, we have to find a local solution. We can’t keep making reference to United States of America, how about other parts of the world? You have to compare what people have done right.
“America should not always be the point of reference, there are other places in the world doing far better than America. We should only borrow from things that will work for us and that can come from any part of the world. It can come from as near as Ghana. Ghana has just lifted its lockdown, they are moving on with their life.”
Asked why he had directed senior civil servants to resume work despite the fact that only 610 persons had been tested in the state, Mr Makinde said: “We will keep on testing. This (COVID-19) is not going to go away like yesterday and that is exactly what I have been telling a lot of people.
“Okay, you have given palliatives out and this is the direction that you are going to go, in a manner that you are flipping a switch on and off. No, it’s not going to go that way. I think we need to look at this in terms of light dimmers where we can turn the knob and the light may be bright or you may turn the light off.
“We are in this for a long haul and our output should not be like flipping a switch, our output will be with us for a while. And that is exactly what we are doing.
“I mean consciously, we are going out saying let this category of people resume, let the market work, let the farmers take advantage of this planting season,” the governor said.
The governor has consistently argued against lockdown as a measure to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The state government had earlier declared mandatory wearing of face masks in public and announced that it had engaged 100 tailors to produce face masks for people of the state.