By Ovie Okpare
As part of measures to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has ordered immediate closure of nightclubs, lounges and cinemas across the state.
Okowa also directed all workers on grade levels 1-12 except those essential duties such medical workers, fire service and others to stay at home as from Thursday March 26, 2020.
He also directed that henceforth, all burials and social activities across the state should be on low-key and should not exceed 20 persons.
Okowa stated this on Tuesday during a state broadcast on latest measures the government is taking to prevent the spread of the ravaging virus.
Although Nigeria has recorded 42 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Delta I’d yet to have any record of the virus since its outbreak.
The governor said security agencies will be directed to enforce the new directive especial on social activities including burials, marriages.
He, however, revised his earlier directive ordering all schools in the state to shutdown as from Thursday March 26 to Wednesday March 25.
Okowa said, “All institutions of learning: Primary, Secondary or Tertiary are to close for a period of 30 days at the end of School hours on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020.
“All workers on grade levels 1 -12 (except those on essential duties (Health Staff, Fire Services, Water Corporation/agencies) are to stay at home effective 26th March, 2020.
“Biometric operations at all levels of Government are hereby suspended till further notice
“Malls, supermarkets, restaurants, banks, hotels and bars must, in addition to providing Sanitizers at various entry points, ensure social distancing by allowing only few persons at a time.
“Market leaders to ensure that Sanitizers are provided at all entry points to the markets. Failure to do this will attract sanction from the Government.
“All night clubs/lounges and cinemas are to be closed forthwith.
“All burials and social events must be low-key, not attracting crowds of more than twenty (20) persons or be put off indefinitely. Security Agencies will be directed to enforce this henceforth. Social distancing must be complied with.”
The governor disclosed that he had summoned a meeting of religious leaders in the state to examine the latest development and taking far-reaching decision regarding the outbreak of the disease.
He also stressed that all commercial buses, taxi and others operating in the state must provide hand sanitizers for travellers
He further banned town union meetings, conferences, and other gathering involving more than 20 persons all across the state.
“The State Government is to immediately convene a meeting with religious bodies and their leaders to enable us take far-reaching decisions on worship. However, all crusades and conferences must be suspended for now.
“All Local Government Council Chairmen are hereby directed to urgently meet with traditional rulers and opinion leaders (men/women) in their domain to partner with the State in carrying out this advocacy to curtail the spread of the infection.
“All buses and taxis must provide hand Sanitzers for travellers.
“All town union gatherings or youth conferences/gatherings are prohibited until further notice.
“All political gatherings and conferences, summits and gatherings involving more than 20 persons are banned until further notice.”
While reeling out what the government is doing in checking the spread of the disease, the governor advised all Deltans who had recently travellled any of the high risk countries to immediately undergo self-isolation.
In face of the development, Governor Okowa appealed to people of the state not to panic and equally warned against posting fake news regarding the pandemic on social media.
He said, “As at 2 pm today, 24th March, 2020, the Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed 42 cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. While there is no case of COVID – 19 confirmed in Delta State we must take some precautionary measures to prevent, as well as limit infection if it occurs.
“My dear Deltans, in the spirit of love for one another, any one of us who has recently returned from high risk countries such as China, USA, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, UK, Iran, South Korea, Japan, must self-isolate from friends, family and others for minimum of 14 days.
“All who have had close contact with those who visited these high incidence countries are also advised to self-isolate for the same period.
“On our part, we have taken certain steps to mitigate the impact if and when cases are detected in our State; A multi-sectoral Committee has been put in place and the State Emergency Operation Centre activated. Health Staff have been selected and trained adequately.
“The State Government has completed a purpose-built Isolation Centre at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba. The centre is ready for use. Three other Centres at the now completed central Hospital, Asaba; Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara and Central Hospital, Warri are being prepared as additional Centres.
“To protect healthcare personnel and increase capacity, Personal Protective Equipment for health Staff are in stock and we have continued to scout for more.
“The State Government has also packaged incentives for critical health staff who will be engaged in COVID-19 treatment and management.
“In the last 48 hours, we have paid for and taken delivery of 19 No. Ventilators and a good number of Monitors for use of our medical Staff.”
He further advised Deltans with any of the symptoms of Coronavirus such as fever, cough and have difficulty in breathing to call the following numbers for guidance:- 0803 123 0480, 0803 123 0481.