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Edo allays fears over COVID-19, warns trouble makers to stay away from Benin

By Christian Okpara
11 March 2020   |   3:09 am
The Coronavirus outbreak may have caused disruptions of sports schedules across the world, but the Edo State government says there is no chance it would cause the shift of the forthcoming National Sports Festival

The Coronavirus outbreak may have caused disruptions of sports schedules across the world, but the Edo State government says there is no chance it would cause the shift of the forthcoming National Sports Festival. The state says it is on top of the situation.

Edo State, which will host the 12th National Sports Festival from March 22 to April 2, has also urged its citizens to cooperate with it while assuring them they would be protected from the raging Covid 19 during the festival.

Edo State Deputy Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Ebomhiana Musa said in a statement yesterday that despite the present outbreak of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID 19) worldwide, with the scare of it taking on an epidemic scale if left unchecked, there is only one confirmed case in Nigeria with none in Edo State.

He stated that a risk assessment on the threat of COVID 19 based on Edo State’s response towards ensuring “the smooth flow of the sports festival, government has put in measures to prevent the spread of this viral disease through screening of participants, deployment of well-trained health personnel at all venues, and collaboration with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) done in collaboration with the Rapid Response Team of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) with Emergency Operation Centre in the state.”

He also disclosed that government has made available handwashing facilities to shore up personal hygiene backed with enlightenment and dissemination of adequate information to the populace to help them identify and report on suspected cases of COVID 19.

He stated that there was need to present for medical scrutiny if persons with burning temperature were confirmed to have been in contact with those with the viral disease or had a recent travel history to China, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Iran, Hong Kong, Italy, Vietnam, and Taiwan or worked in or attended a health facility where patients with COVID 19 were being treated or admitted with severe pneumonia of unknown etiology.

The state has also warned troublemakers to stay away from the venues of the National Sports Festival, saying it would deal decisively with anybody that runs afoul of the law.

Assuring fans, athletes and their officials that it has put measures in place to ensure their safety at the newly refurbished Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the state said it would deploy state-of-the-art facilities to protect participants at the games.

According to the Chief Electrical Engineer of the contracting firm handling the complex, Ben Tobrise, the CCTV and Video Assistant Referee (VAR) installed at the Ogbemudia Stadium are capable of fishing out any hooligan from the stands or anywhere around it.

“Anyone thinking of coming to the stadium to foment trouble will be fished out,” he said.

He added: “We have eight cameras installed at this stadium. All of them will be recording at the same time as our operators watching from the control room. We can do playback to check any area of interest.

“Similarly, we are capable of seeing clearly any place or thing within five kilometers radius of the stadium from here. With these measures, we can beat our chest to say that everyone coming to Ogbemudia Stadium during the National Sports Festival is assured of his or her safety.”

Interestingly, a police post has been built at the entrance to the stadium to handle cases of infractions at the complex.

Yesterday, carpenters were busy with the roofing of the police post while other workers were putting finishing touches to the remaining minor jobs ahead of the opening ceremony to be done by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Already, most of the houses situated around the stadium complex are wearing new looks as residents look forward to receiving visitors to their neighborhood.

While Edo is sure of its facilities’ ability to check the Coronavirus and also secure its people, the Italian football federation (FIGC) is lost on the measure to take to secure its league.

According to BBC, a statement confirmed that Serie A would stop until April 3 following a government decree issued on Monday.
FIGC President Gabriele Gravina also put forward alternative options if the season cannot be concluded.

They include staging play-offs, not having a champion for 2019-20 or declaring the current standings final.

Play-offs would take place to determine the champions and the three clubs to be relegated to Serie B.

But if the title winner is decided by the current standings then Juventus would be Italian champions for a ninth straight season, having gone back above Lazio with a 2-0 win over third-placed Inter Milan on Sunday.