…workers from level 1-12 to stay at home from March 26
…urge Deltans not to panic
…to meet with religious leaders on worship
By Festus Ahon
GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday banned burials, all social gatherings of more than 20 persons, crusades and ordered the closure of night clubs/lounges and cinemas with immediate effect.
He also directed that workers on grade levels 1 -12 (except those on essential duties (Health Staff, Fire Services, Water Corporation/agencies) should stay at home effective 26th March 2020.
Okowa who addressed the State for the second time in less than one week, also directed that biometric operations at all levels of Government should be suspended till further notice.
He said: “Malls, supermarkets, restaurants, banks, hotels and bars must, in addition to providing Sanitizers at various entry points, ensure social distancing by allowing only a 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 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 State Government is to immediately convene a meeting with religious bodies and their leaders to enable us to 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 Sanitizers 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. Together and with God on our side, we shall overcome this plague”.
Okowa said: “For the second time in one week, I am addressing you on the coronavirus pandemic. 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.
“The Multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by NCDC has activated its National Emergency Operation Centre, and they are working closely with State Health authorities. I wish to urge all Deltans to adhere strictly to the following precautionary measures:
“Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 – 60 seconds and use alcohol-based Sanitisers. Social Distancing: maintain at least two metres (six feet) between yourself and anyone, especially those coughing or sneezing.
“Persons who are coughing or sneezing should stay at home or keep a social distance. They should not mix in a crowd.
Ensure good respiratory hygiene by coughing into your sleeve at the bent elbow or using a tissue to cover your mouth and nose. Then dispose of the tissue immediately.
“Deltans are advised to avoid all non-essential travel within or outside the State. It is important we realise that the virus does not spread itself; it is spread by people. If you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and have difficulty in breathing, call the following numbers for guidance:- 0803 123 0480, 0803 123 0481. Do not engage in self-medication”.
While urging Deltans who recently returned from high-risk countries such as China, USA, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, UK, Iran, South Korea, Japan, to self-isolate from friends, family and others for a minimum of 14 days, he said; “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 has been selected and trained adequately.
“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 Ventilators and a good number of Monitors for use by our medical staff. Other critical needs, including Dialysis machines, dedicated for COVID -19 case management will be installed. I urge Deltans not to panic, but we must all commit to best behaviours by keeping to the advice of the NCDC and State officials”.