By Peter Okutu
Abakaliki—As part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus pandemic, otherwise known as COVID-19, Ebonyi State government, yesterday, banned burial and wedding ceremonies, nite clubs as well as other events that will attract the gathering of persons in the state.
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, who announced this while addressing a town hall meeting on COVID-19 at the Akanu Ibiam International conference centre, Abakaliki, yesterday, disclosed that the ban which took effect from March 22nd of this month, was for a period of one month.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, said the Town Hall meeting, which was attended by traditional rulers, chairmen of councils, coordinators of development centres, Town Union Executives, Leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria, health workers and other relevant stakeholders, was part of measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
He said Isolation centre had been constructed and equipped at Unity Square, Abakaliki, while government had also ordered the procurement of 150 infrared Thermometer Test Tubes as well as hand sanitizers.
“Another Isolation centre is nearing completion at Ebonyi boarder with Enugu State and it will be replicated in all entry points into the state for compulsory testing of commuters into the state,’’ he said.
The governor also directed council chairmen to immediately constitute emergency health workers’ committees to visit all markets and homes and conduct compulsory test on the people.
He also said it was compulsory for worship centres, rice mills, quarry sites and hotels to provide test kits and hand sanitizers in their various places and warned that government would take more stringent action if the the privilege is abused.
He also directed that civil servants on grade levels 1 to 10 will from March 25, work from their homes except those on essential duties, assuring that the state committee, headed by the Secretary to the State Government, would constantly review the situation, with a view to adopting more strategies to prevent COVID-19 and Lassa fever epidemics in the state.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, had earlier said the Town Hall meeting became expedient because of government’s determination to enhance the health status of the people and appealed to participants to take the message home and ensure their subjects adopted safety measures.
Vanguard investigation revealed that the quantity of rice being sold as the Abakaliki rice has reduced, while the price for a bag of rice has increased, following the rate of panic-buying in the state.