The governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday, announced the partial lifting of total lockdown within the state effective from Thursday, April 30th 2020.
The governor said the reason was to enable Deltans engage in skeletal economic/business activities between the hours of 6:00 a.m and 7:00 pm while they continue to adhere strictly to outlined measures against COVID-19.
“We have every reason to believe that the lockdown has helped to limit the spread of the virus in our state. As at today, six cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed; five of the patients are doing well in our case management centres.
“Sadly, we lost one of them who presented himself late to the medical authorities; his test report, which turned out to be positive, was received after his unfortunate demise.
“The period of the lockdown, while enabling us to break the chain of transmission, also gave us the leeway to easily trace, identify, isolate and test contacts of infected persons.
“As of 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 agonising for those in the informal sector who live on daily income,” he explained.
Okowa, who asked workers of Grade Level 12 upward to resume work April 30, further said security agencies would be on hand to ensure strict compliance with the dusk-to-dawn curfew between 7:00 p.m and 7:00 a.m until further notice.
He, however, maintained that the ban inter-state movement will continue for another two weeks while only suppliers of food, beverages, medicals, pharmaceuticals, petroleum and agricultural products are exempted from the order.
While burials and weddings will be allowed with the strict adherence to social distancing rule (6ft apart) and the number of guests/people not exceeding 50, the ban on conferences, sporting activities, gathering of people in convention/event centres, sports field, public opening spaces, as well as recreational and cultural/communal activities remain until 31st of May 2020.
All these, he said, must be done with the compulsory wearing of face masks as an additional condition to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
In his state-wide broadcast on Tuesday 28th of April at 11:00 am at the Government House, Asaba, Gov Okowa said schools (public and private) remained closed till Sunday 31st of May, 2020.
“Our schools (public and private) remain closed until Sunday, 31st May 2020. Entertainment centres, including cinemas, bars and night clubs remain closed until Sunday, 31st May 2020.
“Restaurants/Canteens/Beer Parlours are to operate on take-away basis while hotels will be allowed to open (with in-room dining) but their restaurants, bars and night clubs remain closed till further notice.
“While transport services (Keke, taxis, buses) are allowed to operate, a number of passengers shall be as follows: 2 persons at the back for Keke; one person at the front seat and two persons at the back for a taxi; 10-12 persons for a 16-seater/18-seater bus.
“Our airports remain closed to passenger traffic till further notice. I shall be meeting with our religious leaders on Thursday, April 30th 2020 to chart the way forward for our places of worship. However, all crusades/conventions remain banned until further notice,” he noted.
On the compulsory use of face mask by the populace, he stated: “it is mandatory for all residents in the state to make use of facemasks in the public.
“Anybody leaving his/her home must wear a facemask effective Thursday 30th April 2020 till further notice.
“They must be worn in public places including offices, markets, malls, supermarkets, salons, hospitals and health clinics, churches, mosques, as well as all approved gatherings of persons.
“Traders/market women are all required to wear facemasks while carrying out their businesses.
“The local government chairmen are hereby directed to work out the modalities for the operations of the markets in their domain, especially with regard to social distancing and other sanitation protocols.”
To ensure total compliance, the governor said, the state would commence the distribution of a million cloth face masks to the residents of the state, through local government offices on Wednesday, April 29.
He appealed to Deltans to be more fervent in prayers, stay at home and only go out when necessary, noting that by so doing, they would help to contain the disease from spreading.