Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Tuesday partially lifted the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown in the State to enable Deltans and residents engage in economic and business activities between the hours of 6 am and 7 pm.
Governor Okowa announced the partial lifting of ban on movement within the State during a statewide broadcast, warning that security agencies have been advised to ensure strict compliance with the conditions that have been put in place, stressing violators that would be prosecuted without fear or favour.
In his address, the Governor stressed that the lockdown helped to demean the spread of the virus in our State and that care must be taken to ease the lockdown restrictions in a gradual, systematic and orderly manner so that the gains of the past four weeks are not wiped out.
Governor Okowa’s address reads: “My dear Deltans, I begin this broadcast by first thanking all of you for your understanding in this very challenging period in human history. Except for some minor incidences here and there, you stay on with the lockdown. It speaks of your trust and confidence in the integrity of the structures and processes we have put in place to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. We are indeed very grateful for your support and partnership. The security agencies deserve our commendation for their sacrifice, patience and professional conduct.
“You will recall that on March 29th 2020, we closed down entry points into and out of Delta State as a proactive step to keep the Coronavirus pandemic at bay. Three days later, on April 1st 2020, we closed all offices, public places and banned all public movements and gatherings in the State, except for essential and emergency supplies to enable us to reduce the risk of transmission.
“These proclamations were made in exercise of the power conferred on me by the Delta State Public Health Law, the Quarantine Act as well as the Infectious Disease Emergency Prevention Regulation 2020.
“We have every reason to believe that the lockdown has helped to demean the spread of the virus in our State. As at today, 6 cases of COVID-19 have been incidented; 5 of the patients are doing well in our case management centre. And I am informed that two of them who have had two negative tests would be discharged this morning. Sadly, we lost of them who presented himself late to the medical authorities. His test result, which turns out to be positive, was received after his death.
“The period of the lockdown, while enabling us to break the chain of transmission, also gave us the leverage to easily trace, identify, isolate and test contacts of infected persons. As at today, we have a low virus spread in the State, and our health system can be said to be in a state of readiness, with the health staff fully committed and motivated to discharge their responsibilities in a professional, ethical and safe manner.
“As we begin to ease the lockdown restrictions, the sensible approach is to do it in a gradual, systematic and orderly manner so that we do not wipe out the gains of the past four weeks. We are very mindful of the fact that each day of the lockdown was tough economically, and particularly agonizing for those in the informal sector who live on daily income.
“To mitigate the harsh economic effects of the lockdown, the State Government distributed food items all 270 wards in the State, coordinated by a cross-section of leaders at the local government areas and ward levels. We are currently also expecting some food items from the federal government; just recently the federal government sent us three trailers of 50 kg rice, and from CACOVID, the group of businessmen, who we are expecting serious food items from. These would be distributed to the poor and vulnerable across the 270 wards when they arrive.
“At this juncture, I want to thank all those who donated generously to our COVID-19 relief fund, and I have directed that the SSG should publish their names because a lot of Deltans and a few non-Deltans actually did responded, of which, we are grateful.
“As we gradually relax the restriction of movement, I must caution that it is not yet uhuru. Life as we have known it is still a long way up. We must, therefore, brace ourselves to adjust to the new normal in all our personal, official and business dealings, going forward.
“As an administration, we remain irrefutably committed to doing everything necessary to protect the lives and properties of citizens in the State in addition to providing a safe and secure environment for them to pursue their dreams of success and happiness.
“In view of the foregoing, it has become necessary to partially lift the ban on movement within the State effective Thursday 30th of April 2020. This is to enable our people engage in economic and business activities between the hours of 6 am and 7 pm. The security agencies would be on ground to ensure strict compliance in the timeframe. That means that there will be an all night curfew and I believe that those of you that listened to Mr President would also have heard that.
“However, as we lift the ban on economic activities and business activities in the course of the day, there are some exceptions. Conferences, sporting activities, gathering of people in convention and event centres, sports, feasts, public and open spaces as well as recreational and cultural sub communal activities remain banned until we review it on the 31st of May 2020.
“While burials and weddings would be allowed, the social distancing rule, which is 6 feet apart, must be applied and the number of guests and persons must not exceed 50.
“Our schools, both public and private remain closed until reviewed on the 31st of May 2020.
“Entertainment centres, including cinemas, bars and night clubs remain close until further notice. Restaurants are to operate on takeaway basis only. While hotels would be allowed to open with in-room dining only, therefore, their restaurants, bars and night clubs remained closed until further notice.
“While transport services, the keke, the taxis and buses are allowed to operate, maximum number of passengers shall be as follows: 2 persons at the back for the keke; 1 person at the front seat and 2 persons at the back for a taxi, that is a maximum of 3 persons; and 10 to a maximum of 12 persons for a 16 and 18 seater bus, that means you cannot have more than 2 people sit on a row that was initially meant for 3 persons. Our airports remain closed to passengers travelling till further notice. I have already directed the SSG to meet with the unions of the taxis and the keke to be able to ensure that they are properly briefed on the new norm. A regulation has been signed this morning to that effect and all those who break the rule will be tried and fined in the appropriate court.
“I shall be meeting with our religious leaders on Thursday to chart the way forward for our places of worship. However, all crusades and conventions remain banned until further notice.
“For the public service, only workers on Grade Level 12 and above should resume work effectively Thursday 30th April 2020. This order does not apply to junior staff on essential service and emergency duties. Workers with co-morbidity can work from home. That is, those who have illnesses that would make them prone to down if they get infected with COVID-19.
“However, workplace protocols should be put in place for disease surveillance, prevention, including screening and using of face mask and social distancing. This applies to both the public and the private sector.
“Let me reiterate that security agencies have been advised to ensure strict compliance with our above directives. Violators would be prosecuted without fear or favour.
“Henceforth, it is mandatory for all residence in the State make use of face mask in the public. Anybody leaving his/her home must wear a face mask effective Thursday 30th April 2020 till further notice. They must be worn in public places, including offices, markets, malls, super markets, saloons, hospitals, health clinics, churches and mosques when they are allowed to open as well as all approved gathering of persons.
“Traders and market women are all required to wear face mask while carrying out all their businesses.
“The local government chairmen are hereby directed to work out the modalities for the operation of the markets in their domains, especially with regard to social distancing and other sanitation protocols.
“Hair dressing and barbing saloons must never be crowded. Owners are hereby directed to restrict the number of persons inside to a minimum number to observe social distancing. As much as possible, workers in these establishments should wear hand gloves.
“The State Government will commence today the distribution of a million cloth face mask that was produced by the State to residents in the State, using the local government committee chaired by the local government chairmen as channels of distribution.
“Meanwhile, those who can afford it are also advised to make their own procurement. The benefit of the cloth face mask is that it can be washed with soap and water and reused.
“There would be a continuation of the inter-State lockdown for another two weeks as pronounced by Mr President; only essential supplies, food, beverages, medical, pharmaceutical, petroleum and agricultural products that are exempted from this order.
“As we engage our new normal, I assure all Deltans and residents that we shall continue to put processes in place to demean the transmission of the virus by ensuring rapid identification of cases and contacts, more testing, isolation and quarantine as necessary. We shall continue with staff training and motivation and provision of logistics and supplies for our health staff.
“Finally, I wish to appeal to us to please stay indoors as much as possible and only go out when it is necessary. We need not travel nor visit persons for whatever conversations, business or actions that can be concluded on the phone or by using other electronic medium.
“Please, wash your hands regularly with soap and water. Use alcohol-based sanitizers as an alternative if there is no soap and water immediately available. It is very important that you do not touch your mouth, your eyes and your nose with unwashed hands.
“If you fall sick with fever, cough and/or breathlessness, please, do not panic. Call the local government council chairman, the councilor of your ward, the executive secretary of the local health authority, and the disease surveillance and notification officer in your local government area.
“You can also call the emergency operations centre on these numbers: 08031230480, 08031230481, and 08031230529.
“Pray always and endeavour to use this time to strengthen your family bonds. Together and with God on our side, we shall overcome. Thank you and God bless you all”.
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