Edo govt bars unvaccinated civil servants, others from Secretariat

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•Begins operation show your COVID-9 vaccination card

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Edo State Government, on Wednesday, gave a bite to its bark over COVID-19 vaccination as it barred civil servants who could not produce their certificate of vaccination from entering the state Secretariat.

Equally denied access to the Secretariat were visitors and others who came for one business transaction or the other, but also could not produce the certificate.

Governor Godwin Obaseki, it would be recalled, had three weeks ago, announced that beginning from the middle of September, Edo State residents who refused to be vaccinated against the Coronavirus pandemic would be denied access to large gatherings, banking halls and other offices.

The decision, the governor said, was informed by the rising mortality ratio in the state since the beginning of the third wave of the pandemic.

While a litigant secured an injunction from a Port Harcourt Federal High Court over the matter, Obaseki insisted that while he would not make vaccination compulsory in the real sense of it, those who remained unvaccinated by September 15 would be denied access to large gatherings and government facilities. He equally assured that he would contest the Port Harcourt injunction at the appellate level.

As early as 7.00 a.m., on Wednesday, the implementation team for the restriction directive set up at the State Secretariat, with the leader, Yusus Haruna, taking charge.

Haruna, who stationed his team at the main gate of the Secretariat, opposite the EFCC office in the GRA, also deployed other teams to the other entry points.

While the monitoring teams scanned the cards to ensure their authenticity, those who provided their vaccination cards were allowed entry, while others who could not, were told to go back home.

The action shocked some of the civil servants, who did not believe that the government would back its threat with action.

Some of the workers said that they did not bring their cards and were sent back home, while those who claimed to have left the cards in their offices, loitered around the gates, while their colleagues had to go and fetch the cards for them.

The Enforcement Team Lead assured that the enforcement would be total and thorough.

“What is important is that where there is a will, there is a way. Governor Godwin Obaseki had demonstrated that the state wants to save lives by dishing out this directive.

“We expect little hitches at the takeoff but there will be an improvement as we move on. I am also sure that the people will also want to see if the government is serious about the directive. And with what we started today, we are demonstrating that the government is ready to save lives in the state.

“I am sure that those who did not come with their vaccination cards today (Wednesday) and were sent back home to bring them will not do a similar mistake tomorrow. It is clear that many of the workers have taken the vaccine but they are yet to get used to the practice of going about with their cards.

“With the media giving what we are doing here the necessary publicity, people will know the need to comply with the directive,” Haruna added.

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