Following the increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country and amidst growing fears over the spread of the virus, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, on Wednesday, rolled out stringent measures to curb its incursion into the state.
A statement issued on behalf of the governor by the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo, ordered the immediate closure of all entry points, including land and waterways, among other measures, adding that that violators of the directives risk arrest.
“The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, hereby issues the following directives to guide the response of government and citizens to the stark realities of the coronavirus outbreak.
“All entry points into Kogi State (land and waterways) are now closed. Entry and transit by any vehicle is subject to successful health check of all passengers.
“To prevent avoidable delays, which may extend to preventive quarantining, persons with any disease condition which mimics CORVID-19 symptoms, including elevated temperatures, should have a medical report from a reputable hospital/medical practitioner explaining their condition before venturing through the state.
“Directive shutting all educational institutions in the state, both public and private, from Monday, March 23, 2020 remains in effect until further notice.
“Civil servants on Grade Level 1-13, except those on specified essential services (medical personnel, revenue officers, law enforcement) are to remain at home and away from work till advised otherwise.
“All social, cultural and religious activities are hereby suspended and essential activities must not have a crowd beyond 5 persons. We solicit everyone’s prayers from the safety of their homes.
“Tricycle (keke) operators may carry only one (1) passenger at a time and must provide hand sanitizers for use by their passengers. Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested.
“Regular four-wheeled taxis may carry only three (3) passengers at a time (1 in front and 2 behind) and must provide hand sanitizers for use by their passengers. Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested.
“Buses may carry only two (2) passengers per row of seats, subject to a maximum of 10 passengers per trip for any type of bus. Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested.
“All public areas, pubs, bars and restaurants are limited to 5 customers at a time, seated apart in line with the social distancing guidelines. Operators and customers are advised to utilise delivery and takeaway options more during this period.
“All transport companies, transport unions and terminal operators must keep a travel manifest for inbound and outbound passengers, especially verified phone numbers. They must also provide hand-wash stands with soap in the garages and hand sanitizers in the buses. Passengers are required to cooperate by washing their hands with soap and water and sanitize them before boarding. They are to be denied boarding if they fail to comply with the hygiene procedures.
“All corporate premises and large businesses in the state must keep visitors registers as well as take the temperature checks of guests and visitors using a non-contact infra-red thermometer. Any guest with high temperature above 38 degrees Celsius must be reported immediately.
“Wilful breach of these guidelines, the unjustified inflation of prices of any essential commodity and the making or spreading of fake news or hate speech during this period of trial will be regarded as sabotage and punished accordingly.
“Commercial motorcycle operators are to suspend their operations with effect from Thursday 26th March, 2020. Strict compliance is mandatory. With this, we will be able to ensure compliance with the social distancing procedures as well as discourage people from coming to the public space indiscriminately,” the statement said
Meanwhile, Kaduna State Government has placed a ban on the operations of motorcycle and tricycles in the state, as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The State’s Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, who made the disclosure in a state broadcast on Wednesday, said the motorcycle and tricycle operations were banned because they do not satisfy the conditions for social distancing.
She stated that the decision was taken after senior government officials met to review the level of compliance of the measures taken to contain the spread of COVID 19, adding that commercial buses are allowed to operate for now, but must comply to the new rule of not more than two passengers per row.
According to her, the government is ready to suspend all forms of pubic transportation if circumstances demand for it.
The Deputy Governor recalled that the state government had “requested the appropriate authorities to stop train services to help curtail the spread of Covid-19.”
She added: “Further to this, the Kaduna State Government will today(Wednesday) be taking steps to stop the Abuja-Kaduna train service which needs to be suspended for a few weeks.”
Balarabe said the government has directed all utility vehicles assigned to officials to be recalled in order to enhance the state’s capacity for rapid response and contact tracing, monitoring and supervision of surveillance activities incase a positive case was identified.
“The vehicles should be parked in the yard of the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure. Drivers of the utility vehicles should also report to the Commissioner of Public Works to submit their contact details,” she said.
Balarabe disclosed that payment of March salaries has commenced, advising everyone to be financially prudent, given the tough times that lie ahead.
“The state government is committed to getting food and necessities across to identified vulnerable groups should a lockdown become inevitable.
“The required supplies are being procured while a system of distribution to the persons that most need them is being worked out,” she said.
The Deputy Governor thanked the people for the growing compliance with the measures that were put in place to protect residents of the state from coronavirus.
She said: “The state government will continue its enlightenment campaigns in the media to help people stay safe, stay alive and save lives. And it will not relent in robustly enforcing preventive measures.”
Balarabe reiterated the ban on large gatherings, the closure of markets, with the exception of traders in food, medicines and essential items, including the need for people to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel.
“Government recognises that compliance with these measures come with a level of inconvenience for which we readily apologise. But we trust that everyone understands the necessity for these sacrifices as the most pragmatic way to keep people safe and alive,” she added.