… 6 NDDC staff test positive to COVID-19
…Delta govt threatens to shutdown hotels over non compliance with guidelines
…A-Ibom alleges breach of border closure by security personnel
…I never believed COVID-19 was real — Discharged lawyer speaks out in Delta
By Festus Ahon, Akpokona Omafuaire, Egufe Yafugborhi, Chioma Onuegbu, Perez Brisibe & Davies Iheamnachor
From June 5, 2020, through the period of the ravaging coronavrus, any violator of new Rivers State Executive Order regulating conduct of public burials in the state would be liable to a fine of N10million.
The penalty contained in the Executive Order Prescribing Guidelines for Conduct on Public Burials in Rivers State by Governor Nyesom Wike, released, yesterday, and published in a June 5, Rivers State Official Gazzette affects persons who died from February 1, 2020.
The order, part of Rivers State government containment measures against Covid-19 also prescribe that public burial or movement of a corpse out of the state would now require approval from the state governor throughout the period of Coronavrus.
The guidelines also specified that the governor’s approval which must be sought in application through the Commissioner for Health must be accompanied by, “a death certificate showing cause of death, in particular whether or not it was related to Covid-19.”
Other requirements include confirmation that an applicant must have read and comprehended requirement contained in the “Order and Quarantine (Covid-19) and Other Infectious Diseases Regulation (No 3) of 2020 prescribing penalty, breach of conditions, guidelines or protocols specified in the approval” before engaging in the burial and movement of corpse.
The governor may according to the Order grant approval for relatives to conduct public burials for their loved one if cause of death is not Covid-19 related provided there shall be not more than 50 participants and the event not lasting beyond 9a.m., to noon with conscious adherence to all Covid-19 containment protocols in presence of state observers.
In the event that the diseased died of oCovid-19, the ” Commissioner for Health shall direct the applicant to hold the burial immediately under strict supervision of officials of the state Ministry of Health.”
6 NDDC staff test positive to COVID-19
Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, yesterday, said six out of the 33 staffers, working in the commission’s Executive Director of Project office, Dr. Cairo Odjougboh, have tested positive for COVID-19.
The commission in a statement on its twitter handle @NDDCOnline, also disclosed that the test result of Odjougboh came out positive.
The tests on staffers working at the commission’s headquarters followed reported death of one of its directors as a result of COVID-19.
Also, Spokesman of the commission, Mr Charles Odili, said: “Following the directive by the Rivers State Ministry of Health that staff of NDDC, should self-isolate in view of the commission’s index case, all suspected cases have been requested to present themselves for testing, line listing and contact tracing in order to ensure public health safety.
“The commission is liaising with the Rivers State Public Health Emergency team and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, to conduct Coronavirus test for members of staff and their dependents.
“The testing exercise, which is ongoing, has already covered the offices of the acting Managing Director and that of the acting Executive Director Projects. Unfortunately, a few positive results have been recorded.
“Staff of the remaining directorates and departments have been advised to avail themselves of the opportunity of being tested at the Medical Unit of the commission which has been fully decontaminated.
“This important exercise will commence on June 9, 2020, and staff should be rest assured that the COVID-19 pandemic is not a death sentence,” he added.
Delta govt threatens to shutdown hotels over non compliance with guidelines
Meanwhile, Delta State Government has threatened to shutdown hotels flouting the state government’s guidelines in their operations as contained in the COVID-19 protocols released by the government.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chiedu Ebie who led members of the state Covid-19 Taskforce, stated this when he monitored the compliance level of the directives in some hotels in Asaba. While sealing the bars of Hampton Towers, Golden Tulips, Vienna International Hotels, he warned hotel managements to adhere strictly to the Covid-19 guidelines.
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He noted that the guidelines for the re-opening of hotels, allowed the opening of “in-room dining only, while restaurants, bars and night clubs in or attached to hotels remained closed to both in-house guests and the public till further notice.
“If the hotels continue to flout the guidelines, they will leave government with no option than to shut them down indefinitely as they potend a great danger to residents of the state,” he said.
Saying that it was not the intention of government to destroy businesses but to ensure the safety of Deltans, he noted that the use of face mask in public places was compulsory.
Addressing those caught flouting the rules, Ebie said, “It is unfortunate that we are having these number of persons drinking in this small place. I know people that have died of Covid-19 and it is unfortunate that each and every one of you here is educated and is aware about what to do.
“You have come here, you don’t know who is positive and to you, it doesn’t matter, but, to us, it is not a joke, it is our duty to enforce the protocols because, these are unusual times.”
A-Ibom alleges breach of border closure by security personnel
In Akwa Ibom State, the state government has raised the alarm over emerging trend where security personnel allegedly use their personal cars or official vehicles to transport passengers through the entry points into the state.
State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Udoh in a statement, yesterday in Uyo, described the act as disturbing and condemnable.
He explained that all services commanders in the had been informed of the development, and henceforth, all security vehicles including those owned by security personnel would be subjected to the prescribed COVID-19 entry points protocols.
He stressed that the state government would leave no stone unturned in the fight against the pandemic.
Reacting , the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Fredrick Nnudam described the state government allegation as unfounded, stressing that it was not possible for operatives of the police to leave their duty post to indulge in such act.
Wike lauded on decontamination exercise in P-Harcourt
The Sole Administrator of Rivers State Waste Management Agency, RIWAMA, Mr Felix Obuah, has commended Governor Nyesom Wike, for the decontamination exercise in the state.
Obuah in a statement by his Special Assistant on media, Jerry Needam, in Port Harcourt said the steps taken by the governor to decontaminate public places in the state was in the right direction.
Obuah noted that the three-step-approach of fumigation; steam spraying which contains effective disinfectants that have been confirmed to be very active for combating the virus; and disinfectant smoke spraying was a well reasoned idea to ensure that no stone was left unturned in the fight against the pandemic. He lauded Wike for the wisdom and initiative to further check the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state by fumigating all public places which are possible points to contact the disease.
He enjoined the people of the state not to relent in prayers as the governor deploys his wisdom in the effort to stem the spread of the pandemic in the state.
I never believed COVID-19 was real — Discharged lawyer speaks out in Delta
A Warri based legal practitioner, Ofure Okhifo, yesterday, said she never believed that the coronavirus was real until she was infected.
Okhifo who was discharged from the COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment centre of the Asaba Specialist Hospital, expressed gratitude to all those who made sacrifices for her to get well, noting that she received good attention from the medical doctors and the nurses.
She was in a joyous mood after receiving her discharge certificate, upon testing negative to the virus due to the treatment she received, disclosing that her parents and one of her siblings tested positive for COVID-19 before she and her mother were brought to Asaba while her father and brother were kept at the Isolation centre in Warri for treatment.
She was also informed that her recovery from COVID-19 was not a guarantee that she could not be reinfected and should adhere to health protocols as released by government while she would be checked on regularly as an outpatient.
State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu who witnessed the event, said since April 7 when the first index case was recorded in the state, government has remained at alert to its duties by ensuring that those affected were adequately treated while aggressive campaigns on the causes and prevention were also, extended to all parts of the state.
He noted that the discharge of the patient was a clear indication that COVID-19 was not a death sentence with early detection.