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Ogun State Suspends Reopening Of Worship Centres

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Ogun state governor, Dapo Abiodun has postponed the proposed reopening of state worship centres, citing poor compliance by citizens with guidelines and precautionary measures against coronavirus.

Abiodun had intended to remove the ban on religious centers with effect from Friday, June 19, in his last speech to the parliament.

Speaking to reporters at Oke – Mosan Governor’s Office, Abeokuta, he noted that worship centers are the truest and most strong ground for spreading the deadly virus, saying he decided to make the difficult decision to keep them locked to save life.

He lamented the startling COVID – 19 state statistics, saying that Ogun had recorded 586 positive cases last Monday, compared to a total number of 316 on June 4, representing an increase of 270 or more than 85 percent in just 14 days.

He noted that the number of cases recorded from the first index case on February 27 to June 4 – a 98-day period – had nearly doubled in just 14 days, but explained that a cumulative total of 315 patients were successfully treated and discharged while six more deaths were also recorded in the last 14 days.

He said community transmission was still on the increase, regretting also that in spite of the spirited efforts of the government to create awareness about the deadly nature of the pandemic and the guidelines in place to flatten the curve of the spread, the compliance level of residents and citizens remained very much below expectation.

And fielding questions from reporters, Abiodun threatened to arrest operators of sports viewing centres and patronisers as well as shut down the operation of commercial motorcycles in the state if found to be compromising the safety and health of people by their activities.

Abiodun said: “After a careful review of the data, feedback from the field, expert opinions, and lessons from far and near, two major conclusions are very clear and obvious to all: first, the COVID-19 situation in Ogun State and indeed in the country as a whole has not improved since the last update.

“And there are dire consequences in loss of human lives for premature relaxation of the guidelines, necessitating a rollback of the relaxation in a number of states and countries. Unfortunately, guidelines may be rolled back, the lost human lives cannot be rolled back.

“We are confronted with two choices – yield to the demand of those who want the restrictions to be further relaxed or even completely removed, even if this is at variance with the dictates of incontrovertible data analysis and scientific opinion; or tow the path that preserves health and safety, even if not so popular.

“As a responsible administration, we choose life and the wellbeing of our citizens and are therefore constrained to take the painful but necessary decision to maintain the current regime of eased lockdown in the meantime.

“We are therefore suspending our initially slated reopening of worship places. Let me thank some of our religious leaders who have advised us by themselves that this is the best decision we should take in the best interests of all of us at this time.

“This is not an easy decision, but we are confident that those who may have initial misgivings about it will be more aware of the wisdom and the scientific basis for this decision. Since the advent of this pandemic in our State, our cautious, methodical, data-driven and scientifically supported approach has not only ensured comparatively superior results, we also have no reason to reverse our decisions, as our decisions are usually well thought out.”

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