COVID-19: Open Letter to Governor Seyi Makinde -Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force
By Hon. Dare Akande
Oyo State Governor.
This is indeed a special moment in history. It has brought the world powers to their knees.
In the Last 24Hours, Coronavirus kills 793 just in northern Italy. Italy has recorded a total of 4,825 Deaths and 53,500 confirmed cases.
Italy has a population of 60million.
Although the United Stated of America swung into action early enough but only imposed travel ban only on China in mid- February which made their effort ineffective, using the current state as the baseline.
In preparation, the US was 2 weeks behind Italy. With over $1tr spent in the last 7 days by the US government, death toll is now over 300, and over 25,000 confirmed cases.
Over 80 million people now on lockdown in the US including myself.
Why do I write all these? Your excellency, there was no preparation at any level of the government in Nigeria despite the fact that the news was in front of our eyes every day.
The Nigeria government deliberately opened her doors for the apocalypse. Surprisingly, the government ordered the closure of the borders after the virus already made its way into Nigeria. Unfortunately, the top government officials are more vulnerable. The example we have seen with Brazilian president, wife of Canadian prime minister and people in the office of the US Vice President.
I want to personally state that my love for you is unalloyed. But you have to take a lead and set up more aggressive strategies. The current plan will not be effective giving the monster virus we are dealing with.
This is not the time to worry about the economy of the state. If people are alive that is when we talk Economy.
I was reliably told that the total number of ventilators in all government hospitals in Nigeria is not up to 10.
This particularly made me sad. In fighting this war against the virus, what dictates whether one lives or dies is the ventilator.
Because of the lack of ventilators US government has instructed all sick people to stay home and call their doctors on the phone. They only take acutely hill patients. They are using military tents and hospital rooms now because they are out of capacity.
It is easy to tell people to wash their hands, social distancing and so on… But do we have enough testing kits? Do we still need to send swaps to the Lagos lab to confirm the infection? How many days do we have to wait for test to come back? All these could make a very big difference in stopping this epidemic. We are already racing against the time.
In addition to any plan on the ground, please your Excellency, put Oyo state on lockdown for 14 days to prevent the spread.
Order mask as much as possible. I am willingly donating mask to the state government.
There will be no help from any government from outside Nigeria. Everyone is dealing with their own problems now.
Close all public gatherings. Close all Religion activities; Instruct all General hospitals to brace up for patient influx.
Wherever you can get ventilators, please my Governor start ordering them. It is almost impossible to get one out there.
Liaise with telecom and utility providers to ensure adequate service during the lockdown period. Please lock down the state to stop the spread. Data coming out of China suggest that 1 patient can infect 1,400 people. AND 4 out of 5 people got infected by someone walking around without knowing that he has Covid-19.
Lockdown can make a difference between life and death. Total confinement is the world’s only hope.
Thanks for updating us.
Hon Dare Akande – A Specialist in Global Development and Human Rights and an indigene of Oyo State, writes ftom Chicago Illinois.