The Delta Government on Tuesday said it would make the wearing of face mask in public places compulsory for the residents as a measure to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, made the disclosure while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the virtual State Executive Council meeting presided over by Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa on Tuesday in Asaba.
Aniagwu said that for government to give effect to the decision on the face mask, the governor would send an Executive Bill to the House of Assembly for a law on it.
“We are concerned about the lives of our people and a decision to send a bill to the house of assembly to make it compulsory for everyone to wear face mask before appearing in the public was taken.
“By next week, government will provide face masks free to the people,” he said.
He said that the decision was based on the fact that, to a large extent, face masks had helped to reduce the spread of the virus, the causative agent of COVID-19.
The commissioner said that other far-reaching decisions were also taken toward further cushioning the effects of COVID-19 on the state’s economy.
According to him, activities of Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR) were reviewed to ensure that government’s income was recovered without inflicting further pains on the people.
“During the meeting, we also resolved that all protocols must be observed in the process of awarding contracts or procurements, to ensure transparency, and for our people to always get value for their money.
“The decision to lock down the state was reviewed. We expressed satisfaction that the proactive lockdown of the state had paid off.
It has ensured that the number of COVID-19 cases in the state has remained at four.
“We have taken a lot of samples for test and so far, the results that we have received are negative.
“It is unfortunate that we lost one person and we are grateful to God that the three cases that we have now are doing well.
“Once their results come out negative twice, they will return to their families.
“Officials of the National Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) have praised the state government for the level of preparedness for the COVID-19.
“But, in spite of the proactive steps taken, we are not praying for people to come to the centres notwithstanding the high standard of the facilities at the centres,” he said.
The commissioner said that the distribution of food items to the vulnerable groups by the state government was effective as they got to the targeted people in the state.
He said that the items were distributed by carefully selected individuals who identified the vulnerable people living in the communities.
Aniagwu said the executive council had commended individuals and corporate organisations that made donations to the state, adding that their names would be publicly acknowledged.
He said: “There is no way government can feed everybody; it is impossible, but we know ourselves. If you have, give to your neighbour.
“As a government, we do know that times are hard and we took steps to reach out to the 270 wards in the state and also reached out to the vulnerable groups.
“The results we are getting from the 270 wards are encouraging because government made it clear that anyone who engaged in sharp practices during the distribution of the food would have himself/herself to blame.”