By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
Oyo State governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, on Tuesday, kicked off a rapid testing initiative for COVID-19 in the State. declaring that the outcome of the exercise would help contain the spread of the virus
Declaring open the COVID-19 Drive-Through/Walk-Through Testing, an initiative that is expected to test 2,000 samples within two weeks, at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan, he said the rapid testing initiative aligned to his administration’s commitment to testing at least 10,000 residents within a short time.
The governor said that the State was scaling up testing in alignment with expert opinions that the best way to contain and control the spread of the novel Coronavirus is by ensuring mass testing.
He appreciated the Citizen for Citizen, a non-governmental organisation headed by the chairman of First Bank Nigeria, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, which provided the 2,000 testing kits and the LifeBank Nigeria, for partnering with the State on rapid testing for COVID-19.
Speaking on behalf of the NGO, Mrs. Temidayo Olatunbosun, said that the guidelines of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) would be strictly followed in conducting the COVID-19 tests in Oyo State.
She also urged residents of Oyo State who have the COVID-19 symptoms to call the emergency operation centre for necessary action.
In his speech, Makinde said the State Government has come under intense criticism for not implementing a total lockdown in the state, and for not forcing people to shut down their businesses.
“We have seen the result of more extensive lockdowns in neighbouring states. Yet, we are not celebrating a win, because this is not a competition.
“Today, we are implementing one of the actions that is fundamental in deciding what our next steps will be. In the next few days after we increase testing, we will see for ourselves whether a complete lockdown is necessary.
“Our aspiration is to test up to 10,000 people within the shortest possible time. We are starting with the first 2,000 from today. I have been told we can complete this round in two weeks.
“Let me use this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Citizen for Citizen Initiative led by Mrs Ibukun Awosika, which donated the 2,000 test kits we will use for the tests. We also thank LifeBank Nigeria, which is collaborating with us to conduct the tests.”
Makinde, who also used the occasion to appreciate health workers in the State for putting their lives at risk for the people.