COVID-19: it's not yet time to lift ban on public gatherings, Health Group warns govsBy Marie-Therese Nanlong

The ongoing fumigation exercise in Plateau State which is a preventive measure against COVID-19 is to be effective for one month even as officials say the chemicals used will kill viruses, bacteria, pests and germs.

The State government which declared a six-day lockdown starting from Thursday midnight, yesterday commenced the fumigation which is to be carried out in the 17 local government areas of the State.

Susan Bentu, the Managing Director, Agricultural Services Training Center, ASTC, a government agency saddled with the responsibility of carrying out the fumigation stated though there is no case of COVID-19 in the State, there is need to ensure the disease is kept out of the State.

Flagging off the exercise at the Terminus area of Jos North local government area, the State Governor, Simon Lalong, noted that since the outbreak of the disease, his administration has taken several steps to prevent its spread to the State and called for citizens’ continued support to contain the disease.

Speaking, he said, “We are gathered here in continuation of our efforts at fighting the Corona Virus Pandemic that is ravaging the world and continues to spread in Nigeria. Our mission here is to begin the fumigation of the entire State against the Corona Virus Disease. Since the outbreak of the disease, our Government has taken several steps aimed at ensuring that the disease does not come into the State.

“Although no case has been recorded yet in Plateau State as at today, we cannot relax. We have to remain vigilant and proactive. That is why we announced a total lockdown of the State, which began some hours ago. During this period, the entire State will be fumigated, all public places such as markets, streets, office premises among others will be fumigated. I call on all our citizens to stay at home in line with the directive we have issued in order to achieve the aim of this exercise.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Plateau Govt. threatens sanctions against violators of ban on crowd gathering

“In addition to the fumigation, the lockdown will also help us reduce any tendency for inter-State transfer of the disease and enable us respond appropriately to any suspected case and contact tracing. We shall be getting a Testing Centre here in Plateau State in the coming days, which will also boost our capacity to identify any case faster. Ordinarily, we should not be doing an event like this on a Good Friday, but the times warrant this and we continue to appeal for the patience and understanding of our citizens.”

He however called for prayers saying, “For our Christian brothers and sisters, let us use this Solemn Easter Friday to cry unto God within our homes to show us mercy and remove this pandemic. Like Archbishop Jose Gomez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said, “Our Churches may be closed, but Christ is not quarantined and his Gospel is not in chains. Even though we cannot worship together, each of us can seek God in the tabernacles of our hearts”.

“Similarly, our Muslim brethren should also use this day to offer solemn Zuhur Prayers in their homes for God to intervene and save us from this calamity. I wish to thank our Religious, Traditional, Political and Community Leaders and their followers for their cooperation and understanding during these difficult times. Let me again appeal to all citizens to abide by the lockdown directive in order to make the work of law enforcement officers easier. We do not want to hear of ugly cases of harsh enforcement. With God on our side, this situation will not last long and very soon, we shall bounce back and resume normal life. All we need is patience and prayers.”

He further assured “Government will soon roll out palliative measures to assist the weak and vulnerable amongst us. On this Special Good Friday, may the Lord answer our prayers and reveal the essence of His sacrifice for mankind.”

Meanwhile, the lockdown was effective as residents were indoors and all major roads deserted as security agencies mount roadblocks to ascertain the identities of essential workers who are not restricted by the lockdown.

Vanguard

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