BAYELSA STATE CIVIL SOCIETY COVID-19 SITUATION ROOM (CISCOV-19)
OFFICIAL STATEMENT (3) – 26th June 2020
The Bayelsa State Civil Society COVID-19 Situation Room is gravely concerned about the marked increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases in the state and the general state of response to the incidence of the pandemic, especially over the last month.
This is a period which has witnessed an increase of COVID-19 cases in Bayelsa State from 12 positive cases on 31 May 2020 to the current count of over 180 cases, with 12 fatalities. This represents a fatality rate of 6.5 percent, which is above both national fatality rate of just 2.5 percent and the global average of 5 percent.
As we continue to encourage collective action and work towards minimizing the impact of the virus in the case, it is expedient to make the following observations:
- There is an obvious deficit of information provided to citizens as the number of confirmed cases and fatalities have multiplied immensely over the last month. Considering the significance of proper information management in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of any official explanation for the sudden surge in confirmed cases and fatalities has created room for the peddling of rumours and harmed genuine efforts to sensitize citizens.
- Corollary to the above is the fact that there was no official and public response to the rumours of an unprecedented and inexplicable rise in cases of malaria and typhoid fever in the state over the last few weeks, despite the concerns expressed by citizens and the fact that it was taking place during an extant public health emergency.
- The enforcement of guidelines on the ongoing partial lockdown of Bayelsa State remains poor. This is a point that we, as civil society organisations in the state, have continued to reiterate since the announcement of the first set of guidelines in April. The lax enforcement of these guidelines may have contributed to this recent spike in positive cases and continues to put the lives Bayelsa State residents at risk.
- The recent actions taken by the Bayelsa State Government in locking down certain bars and releasing further guidelines for places of worship is a welcome development. However, many other bars, public places and individuals continue to disregard lockdown guidelines in the state without any consequences.
In view of the above observations, the Bayelsa State Civil Society COVID-19 Situation Room hereby makes the following recommendations:
- The Bayelsa State Government and the COVID-19 Task Force needs to increase the frequency of its strategic press briefings with sufficient updates and details on the state of the pandemic in the state and the response of the government, including details on the roles of various stakeholder groups
- The Bayelsa State COVID-19 Task Force, and the Sub-Committee on Security in particular, should demonstrate a better resolve in enforcing the extant guidelines on the partial lockdown of the state to urgently curtail the spread of the virus.
- The Bayelsa State Government should respond to the demands of resident doctors in the state as a matter of urgency.
- Finally, the Bayelsa State Civil Society COVID-19 Situation Room wishes to advice all residents of the state to continue to observe social distancing, good personal hygiene and take all relevant measures to keep safe, especially in the light of the recent spike in positive cases.
Bayelsa State Civil Society COVID-19 Situation Room