Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Tuesday flagged off the COVID-19 Drive/Walk Through Testing programme in the state aimed at controlling the spread of the virus.
Makinde, while speaking at the flag-off of the programme in Ibadan, said 2,000 people would be tested during the exercise that would last for two weeks.
He disclosed that the aspiration of his government was to test up to 10,000 people within the shortest possible time.
Makinde commended the sponsor of the programme, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, whose Citizen for Citizen Initiative donated 2,000 test kits that would be used for the tests and Life Bank Nigeria for its efforts to assist the state in conducting the test.
The governor admitted that his administration had lately come under intense criticism for not implementing a total lockdown in the state,
He, however, said a regular review of the situation would determine the necessary steps to be taken by the government at a particular time.
“Experts have opined that the best place to start in solving our peculiar problems is by ramping up our testing capabilities.
“Today, we are implementing one of the actions that are fundamental in deciding what our next step would be.
“In the next few days after we increase testing, we will see for ourselves whether a complete lockdown is necessary,” he stated.
He said that a few weeks ago, the state government, in collaboration with the University College Hospital, Ibadan, had set up a diagnostic centre for COVID-19 test.
“Indeed, with social distancing though proving to be the most effective way of checking community spread, and the fact that people can have COVID-19 and be asymptomatic, large-scale testing will help us determine where and when targeted lockdowns are necessary,” he said.
Makinde also promised that the state government would continue to take good care of its health workers who had been risking their lives.
He disclosed that 610 Personal Protective Equipment had been provided for their use while the government had ordered for additional 400.
“We are also prioritising health workers’ testing, they will be among the first to be tested in the drive/walk-through testing that just began,” he said.
The governor further reminded residents of the state that coronavirus was real, urging everyone to follow the guidelines of experts on how to prevent it.
He appealed to the general public to cooperate with health workers and follow all precautionary measures such as maintaining social distancing as well as washing hands regularly with soap, water and alcohol-based sanitiser.