From Jude Dangwam, Jos
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has relaxed the one week COVID-19 lockdown by five days beginning from 11.
He said the state has investigated 99 cases and has currently isolated 23 persons who are being observed because they came in from other States with confirmed cases of the disease out of which 23 persons isolated none has so far shown any symptoms.
Lalong stated this during a state broadcast on the end of a one week lockdown held at the old government house Rayfield in Jos the Plateau State capital.
He disclosed that over 1242 violators were arrested and made to pay fined by the COVID-19 Mobile Court established in the state out of which 195 were sentence to community services by clearning drainages under the monitoring of personnel of the Nigerian Correctional Service.
The Governor said farmers, particularly those in the rural areas are exempted from the restrictions, as they are required to go to their farms now that the rains have started but must however, observe all guidelines for social distancing and hygiene.
The five days relaxation goes with the earlier restriction prior to the total lockdown where all markets remained closed except those selling “food items, pharmaceuticals and cooking gas.”
He stressed that “all illegal street trading, street hawking, begging are prohibited. The illegal Sunday markets on Ahmadu Bello Way, Bukuru and environs remain banned. Social joints, Nightclubs, drinking parlours are to remain closed, while restaurants are advised to prepare take away for their customers to avoid crowding.
“Motor parks are to capture and keep data including contacts of all inbound and outbound passengers as well as adhere strictly to social distancing and mass gathering prohibition order as well as hygiene regulations.
“Vehicles (Keke Napep, Cars and Buses) are to abide by restriction on the number of passenger to carry, which have been spelled out as 1, 4 and 6 respectively. Places of worship are to strictly adhere to the 50 persons provision, while maintaining social distancing and hygiene regulations. The ban on all anniversaries and cultural festivals remains in force.”
For the Governor, despite all the challenges and pains he can confidently say that the lockdown has been a huge success. “As at today, we have investigated 99 cases and currently isolated 23 persons who are being observed because they came in from other States with confirmed cases of the disease. Of the 23 persons isolated, none has so far shown any symptoms.
“I am happy to announce that the Testing Centre for Plateau State earlier envisaged has finally come to fruition, as the Bio-Safety Level 3 Grade 1 Laboratory at the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) Vom, has been equipped and certified by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to begin outright test for COVID-19,” adding that the lab has the capacity of carrying out 1000 test at once.
He also disclosed that Government has constituted a committee headed by the Deputy Governor, Prof. Sonni Gwanle Tyoden and directed to immediately commence the distribution of palliatives to the most vulnerable and weak amongst citizens of the state.
He, however, warned “let me clarify that these palliatives, which will in due course also be complemented by the Federal Government, are strictly for the needy. Already, about sixty one thousand, six hundred and sixteen (61,616) beneficiaries of the National Social Investment Programme under the N-Power, Poorest of the Poor and School Feeding Programme have been receiving their stipends based on President Buhari’s directive.
“These are not people that should be looking forward to any other palliatives because they are already being taken care of. Similarly, workers who are receiving salaries as and when due should not expect to partake from the palliatives, let us consider the truly vulnerable ones at this period.
Lalong commended the media for their reportage and awareness created on the menace of COVID-19 in the state as well as law enforcement agencies such as “the Police, Department of State Services, the Army, Civil Defence, Immigration, Customs, NDLEA, and the Correctional Services, Members of the Vigilante Services, Neighbourhood Watch Groups, Community Associations, Traditional and Religious Leaders, Political Leaders as well as Leaders of thought for their commitment towards the emergency.