Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Tuesday extended the 14-day lockdown which began in the state on April 1 by another two weeks, imposing a dusk-to-dawn curfew to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The governor in a state-wide broadcast said the curfew would be from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. during the period.
He explained that as painful as the measure might be, extending the lockdown and imposing the curfew were inevitable in view of current developments in the state.
Mr Okowa cited the three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state and the disobedience of the earlier restriction order by some persons.
“Having taken cognisance in the upscale of cases nationally which stands at 343 today, spread across 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory, and the need to ease the process of contact-tracing, the stay-at-home order has become more necessary.
“For the safety of our people and to enable us to track, identify, isolate and test all contacts, I hereby extend the stay-at-home order for another period of two weeks.
“We do know that this will impose some pains to our people but it is for public good and for the interest of our health and I want to urge all Deltans to please observe the stay-at-home order.
“We believe that in the next two weeks we will be able to track all contacts, identify all possible cases and be able to take the needed actions
“We pray to God that the cases we have in Nigeria will not escalate beyond what we have at the moment,’’ he said.
The governor added that the state government was producing face masks which would be distributed to Deltans free-of-charge.
“The distribution of the face masks will start by the end of this week and we will continue to distribute the face masks as much as we are able to produce.
He thanked the people for complying with the lockdown directive as well as health officials, security agencies, donors and all others who contributed to the effective implementation of the lockdown.
The governor particularly commended the Commissioner of Police in the state, Hafiz Inuwa, for taking immediate action in dealing with policemen who caused pains to some health workers.
He assured medical and health workers of the state government’s commitment to providing better welfare packages for them for the job they were doing.
Mr Okowa added that the state’s committee on COVID-19 would soon announce hazard allowances to be paid daily to the health workers.
He recalled that the state recorded the index case on April 7, adding that since then three cases had been reported.
The governor said one of them at the isolation centre at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara had died.
Mr Okowa explained that the case was presented late and that the patient had other ailments which led to his death even before the result of the test conducted on his samples which was positive was out.
He stated that some of the traced contacts had been in self-isolation in their homes while those who could not be isolated in their homes were at three different isolation centres in the state.
“We have two cases that are active; one is being managed at DELSUTH, Oghara and the other at our Infectious Disease Centre at Asaba, and both persons are doing very well,’’ he said.
The governor also announced that the state’s food bank recently established to cushion the effect of the restrictions due to COVID-19 would be opened for distribution of food items to the people in a few days time.
“We will use the federal wards as a means of distribution and the items will go to all Deltans and are not restricted to party politics.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank all those who have made donations to our various accounts and those who have made donations in kind to our food bank.
“I want to encourage all Deltans to continue to assist the poor through this means.
“We will remain accountable and we will ensure that the monies and the food items donated are put into proper use,’’ he said.