Akwa Ibom bans public gathering, blocks vehicles from other states

The Akwa Ibom state government has banned all forms of public gathering, including burials and weddings, as a preventive measure against the novel coronavirus.

The government has also barred people in other Nigerian states from entering the state through the land, air, or water.

The restriction was signed into law on Monday by the Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel, and will “remain in force till 30th day of April 2020 or for such extended period as may be announced from time to time”.

“All public parks, shops, eateries, clubs, restaurants, markets and offices within the State shall remain closed except for the sale of foodstuffs, drugs and other essential commodities.

“All public burials, public weddings, and other forms of public gatherings are for the time being hereby prohibited.

“All places of religious worship, churches, and mosques shall strictly observe the social distancing prescription of a minimum of one metre spacing and not more than twenty persons per gathering. In addition, hand washing facility with running water, soap and sanitiser shall be made available,” the new law states.

According to the law, it is now an offence for tricycle, otherwise known as keke, to carry more than two passengers in the state. Mini-buses in the state are allowed to carry not more than one passenger in a row, while private vehicles are to carry not more than two persons at the back seat and one on the front.

The law demands that “any person who knows or has reason to believe that he has symptoms of, or is suffering from the Coronavirus disease shall submit himself for quarantine and treatment” or be forced to do so by security and medical personnel.

“The enforcement of this Regulations will be strictly carried out by the special enforcement team, headed by the State Commissioner of Police, comprising all the service commanders and relevant government officials,” the law says.

There is no confirmed case of coronavirus infection in Akwa Ibom state.

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