By Jethro Ibileke/Benin

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has warned that the second wave of Coronavius pandemic would be more devastating, if precautionary measures are not strictly adhered to.

The governor gave the warning on Wednesday in Benin, during a virtual meeting with with Christian and Muslim leaders in the state.

He charged them to redouble their efforts in supporting the state government’s efforts to halt the spread of the second wave of Covid-19.

The governor intimated the leaders that though the state government has deployed resources in tackling the second wave of Covid-19, the data from its Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), shows that the pandemic is still spreading much more than it did during the first wave.

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“Covid-19 is with us again. It has come back with more venom and has become more virulent. It is spreading much more than it did during the first wave.

“In the first wave, the bulk of the cases were in Ikpoba Okha, Egor and Oredo local government areas (LGAs), now we are seeing disturbing trends in Etsako West and Esan West LGAs.

“People are not adhering to the guidelines and it has become worrisome. What is most disturbing is that children are now being highly infected, which is a cause for concern. We are worried and we cannot fold our arms,” he said.

The governor urged religious organisations to play active roles in telling their members to adhere to Covid-19 prevention guidelines when in church and also when they interact with others in markets, parks and other public places.

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Responding, the Chairman of the state chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Oyennude Kure, disclosed that religious leaders would activate CAN Covid-19 compliance committee to monitor and ensure that churches were equipped with hand washing stations, observe social distancing and limit the duration of their services.

Also speaking, the Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque, Abdulfatah Enabulele, said that he would spread the word on the fatality of the second wave of Covid-19 to mosques across the state and pledged to communicate the deadly nature of the disease to the Muslim faithful so they can take personal responsibility for their safety.

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On his part, the Chaplain of the University of Benin, Venerable Osazee Egbenusi, said it was essential for the CAN compliance committee to get to work and ensure that churches adhere to the precautionary health and safety guidelines.