Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Saturday ordered a total lockdown of the Bonny local government area and Onne community in Eleme LGA effective from Sunday in a bid to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Wike, who gave the directive in a statewide broadcast, said he took the decision so as to address the spike in COVID-19 cases in some parts of the state and mysterious deaths in Bonny Island.
He said: “Pursuant to the state government’s fundamental objective of stopping the spread of coronavirus, we have reviewed the situation in Bonny Island and Onne and come to the conclusion that a total lockdown is necessary at this time to halt the increasing spread of the virus in these communities.
“By this measure, all shops, offices and business places must remain closed. All gatherings, including religious, burial, and wedding activities are prohibited. All entry and exit into the two communities, except those on essential services and duly permitted, are also banned.
“Security agencies have been directed to enforce the lockdown by arresting and prosecuting anyone who dares to disobey these directives.”
The governor noted that with a total of 866 confirmed cases out of 2572 tested samples, the state was gradually becoming the epicenter of the virus in the South-South part of the country.
According to him, Rivers State recorded 30 COVID-19 deaths, including prominent persons while 356 persons had recovered and discharged from treatment centres.
He added that the 127 new cases recorded on Saturday had left the state’s isolation and treatment centres overwhelmed.
Wike added: “We cannot also deny that the transmission of the virus in our state is currently on a steep upward trend. This being so, we must all brace up to the reality of having new infections and a couple of deaths in the coming weeks and months.
“When we recognized that effective early response was key to preventing the virus from progressing deep, we introduced drastic measures to protect our citizens.
“Unfortunately, some people deliberately twisted our intentions, maligned our timely measures, and exploited the attendant temporary hardship on our people to further their selfish political drives.
“Today, I am sure with the daily worrisome number of new infections and the fear of possible calamitous community transmission, everyone is now seeing the needless politicization of the fight against coronavirus.
“Nevertheless, we are encouraged by the fact that the virus can effectively be stopped from spreading further, if only we all submit to the prescribed guidelines on social distancing as a matter of strict responsibility.”
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