The Ekiti state government says worship centres across the state will be reopened from July 17, subject to the implementation of new protocols.
Governor Kayode Fayemi mad announced this in a state-wide broadcast, on Tuesday.
He said the decision to reopen mosques for Jumat service on July 17, while churches from July 18 and 19, is based on agreement between the state government and religious leaders.
The governor explained that the new protocol for the reopening of worship centres include issuance of a certificate of readiness, provision of hand washing items and compliance with social distancing directives.
He said any worship centre that violates the laid down protocols would be shut and the cleric prosecuted.
Fayemi said a task force will monitor compliance with the new protocols and security operatives will also be on patrol to arrest residents who refuse to wear face masks appropriately.
He said: “The acquisition of a laboratory was for us, a game changer in our strategy to combat the spread of the virus, as it would enable us to increase our testing capacity, especially to determine if we are already in the community spread stage of infection. Our laboratory has now been fully installed and functional, and we have increased testing in our communities.
“As at today, we have conducted additional 417 new tests and recorded 23 positive cases. In all, since we started combating COVID-19, Ekiti State has tested 567 persons and recorded 43 cases. Currently, we have 13 active cases, two deaths, while 28 patients have been successfully treated and discharged.
“Even though the 43 cases represent 6.7% of the total test conducted so far, and even though it could be said to be relatively low, it gives me a great concern that we have recorded this much and that in the month of June, many of the positive cases appear to have contracted the disease through community spread, as they could not be traced to any known cases. So, while our general risk assessment in comparison to other states is quite commendable, the implication of community spread is very grave.
“At this stage, the ball is now in our court. We must take adequate care, take personal responsibility, and ensure we keep safe. Every one of us must do whatever is within our power to ensure we jointly fight this dangerous virus to the end. No one needs to be persuaded again that the virus is real and here. We have seen many prominent personalities who could afford any medical care that money could buy, succumb to the virus. That is why we cannot afford to be complacent or fatalistic about it.”
The governor announced that schools will resume in phases from July 20, starting with students in terminal classes (SS3, JSS3 and Primary 6) in order to ensure preparation for their exams.
He said schools will be issued certificate of readiness after putting necessary measures in place.
Fayemi added that the two largest markets in Ado Ekiti: Oja Oba and Oja Bisi, will now be opened to lock-up shops only, while traders who do not have permanent shops in the two markets are to move to Awedele market.
The governor announced that the state government has taken a N2.5 billion life insurance cover of N2 million each for 500 frontline medical personnel involved in COVID-19 assignment, in addition to the prompt payment of COVID-19 special allowances to qualified cadres.
He disclosed that the Ekiti state health insurance scheme (EKHIS) will take off on Wednesday with over 5,000 citizens already enrolled, while the formal flag-off is scheduled for July 10.