The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, has reassured that the Federal Government will work actively with the Edo State Government to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) during the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival (NSF) billed to hold from March 22 to April 1, in Benin City.
The minister said this in Benin City, after the Local Organising Committee rolled out plans to contain the spread of the virus during the games.
According to Edo State Deputy Governor and Chairman, Local Organising Committee for the NSF, Rt. Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu, the state government has acquired a total of 11,500 hands sanitisers to be deployed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the athletes and officials.
Dare said he is confident with the necessary surveillance and preventive mechanisms put in place at strategic places by the state government to prevent outbreak of COVID-19.
He noted that Edo State has a functional system that will sustain the games from commencement to closing, adding, “I have been to the games village and what I have seen so far is quite impressive.”
Dare noted that Edo State has raised the bar for hosting of the games through the provision of standard facilities and robust private public partnership, adding, “The standard of the game is higher than the one held in Abuja, especially with the transformation of the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium. We have also seen the level of synergy that exists between the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports, state government and the private sector.”
He said the Federal Government spent about N2.3 billon in hosting the games in Abuja while it was spending less than N1 billion for Edo 2020, noting, “For Edo, we have seen public private partnership working and this is another model we intend to promote in subsequent festivals.”
On his part, Shaibu said, “For the LOC, we have procured 11,500 pieces of hand sanitisers that will used by all the athletes and officials that will be coming for the games. We have also set-up hand washing stations in all the events centres and hotels that will be used for the games.
“We have 15 entry points for screening that are being set up for all the teams that will be in Edo. They have to go through proper screening at these entry points. We will be monitoring the contingents as they arrive. We are going to screen them before they have access into the city and the games village where they will be accommodated,” he added.
He said 5 scanners and infrared thermometers will be stationed at the stadium and the Benin Airport to check for high body temperature of spectators during the games.
Shaibu said, ‘We will commence daily screening for all the athletes and officials before every game. We have two isolation wards that we have put in place for possible eventuality.
He added, ‘Looking at the statistics, we have discovered that foreign based athletes are less than one per cent of the entire athletes. Discussions are ongoing to ascertain if there is need to allow them participate because they will not have up to 14 days to be quarantined.