Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, on Tuesday spoke from isolation, saying he has not been showing symptoms of COVID-19 and that his body temperature is normal at 36.5°C.
He disclosed this during a live telephone interview on a special programme of Fresh FM 105.9, Ibadan, known as the COVID-19 Situation Room, anchored by the ace broadcaster, Isaac Brown, which was monitored by this correspondent.
A question was posed to him on the symptoms he has been experiencing on COVID-19 and he responded saying he was asymptomatic and that he had with him a digital thermometer that could read his temperature and at the same time articulate the result. He did it immediately and the thermometer read out the result, saying it was 36.5°C.
Makinde, who stated that “all governors who attended the National Economic Council meeting, were advised to self-isolate once one of the attendees tested positive. So, based on that advice, I started self-isolating a week ago. In fact, I had to cancel the face-to-face Executive Council meeting for Tuesday last week because of that.
“What we are dealing with right now is that …well, I have done the test, it is positive, I have the virus. So, it is something that we know is real and we have to deal with it.”
Makinde also fielded questions on the possibility of total lockdown of Oyo State the same way it was done in Lagos and Osun states as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), saying: “everything that can be done to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Oyo State is on the table. We will continue to assess the situation and take additional measures where necessary.
“Yes, Lagos can be on lockdown, and Ogun can be on lockdown. In Oyo State, yes, people have been saying we should have a total lockdown. Then, I have been asking them questions. What will be the benefits here? Are there alternative courses of action for us to take?
“If you ask people not to come out, you lock down the market places, there are people who what they sell today – the profit from today’s activities, is what they will eat tomorrow. There are many people like that within our environment. So, are there alternatives available to us?”
When asked if selective lockdown could be appropriate in the state, Makinde explained “I think, everything is on the table but it has to follow a logical pattern and it will need the inputs of experts. We are not just going to lockdown because everyone is locking down.
“I have been watching CNN and the most successful place right now in containing this is the Czech Republic. And one of the things they brought out is that they made a law that if you must leave your house, you must wear a mask. It may be that route for us to go.
“I have asked them to start evaluating that. If we must make that law and say everybody that must go out must wear a mask, then, how about those who cannot afford it. Can we make masks locally? Can we get our artisans and our tailors to commit to that with the government supporting? So, those are the type of solutions we are looking for.
“Well, let me give the assurance that Oyo State Government will continue working with data from the Emergency Operations Centre, and we will do everything in our power to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
“So, I want to again, urge everyone in Oyo State to continue to follow the directives of the COVID-19 Task Force and together, by the grace of God, we will defeat this virus and get our economy and our lives back on track.”
Makinde also answered a question on the likely place he could have contracted the virus and whether he initially believed in the existence of coronavirus, following the South West rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which was held two weeks ago at Mapo Hall Arcade, Ibadan.
His words: “First, we had a rally, I believe two weeks ago and then I have seen the video that has been circulating on social media, which is being misinterpreted to mean that, I doubted at any time, the existence of COVID-19. The reality is no, I actually never did. I had used COVID-19 in the same metaphorical way that their APC leader did when they were fighting about their chairmanship and he said, well, the virus has gotten into the party.
“So, I made a joke out of the statement and the video has been circulating that I said there is no Coronavirus, that it only exists in the APC. Well, it was a metaphor.
“But to the good people of Oyo State, I want to say again: COVID-19 is real. So, they must follow all the measures government has put in place to prevent, contain and control this virus.”