Okowa Extends Lockdown By Two Weeks

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Ifeanyi Okowa

Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Apparently toeing President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to the lock down Ogun and Lagos States as well as Abuja, Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday asked the people of the state to stay at home for more two weeks as his government intensified efforts to stamp out COVID-19 from the state.

Okowa said in a broadcast aired from Government House in Asaba that the extension had become necessary to enable the ongoing contacts tracing process reach meaningful conclusion in the light of the reported three cases of COVID-19 in the state.

The governor had last Wednesday announced a lockdown of the state but about 10 days into the exercise, three persons had tested positive for the disease with the second patient reportedly died a day before the result of his laboratory specimen was received.

The governor, who announced the first incident case on April 7, 2020, said the arduous task of identifying and isolating known contact with the three patients had commenced immediately, adding that more time was needed to trace possible
contacts.

While suing for the continued cooperation of the people in the state, he promised to use proceeds from donations into the dedicated bank accounts judiciously as well as ensure that the state food bank is used equitably to cushion the effects of the stay-at-home orders.

The governor, who was however silent on gains from the initial two-week lockdown of the state, said: “By the powers invested in me, I hereby extend the stay-at-home order for another two weeks to enable us intensify contact tracing in order to bring those involved into the various isolation centres for proper case management by health professionals.

“I urge Deltans to comply with the order and be law-abiding citizens throughout the next two weeks and always.

“Distribution and sharing of palliatives will be transparent along the federal ward channels among other distribution strategies already mapped out.”

The initial two weeks lockdown was to end on April 14 before the extension order, but making the people stay at home, aside those on essential duties like health caregivers, farmers and food sellers, has not been an easy task with over 300 persons arraigned before mobile courts designed to try defaulters.

However, THISDAY has observed that there has been palpable uneasiness among the people with many who are out on a daily living saying their families are hungry while complaints of harassment and extortion by police and other security operatives have been reported across the state.

There has been consistent vehicular movement into and across the state, other than those conveying petroleum products, especially involving cement-laden trucks and other vehicles usually with security escorts.

It was learnt that some soldiers who shot dead a Warri resident and molested unarmed citizens under the guise of enforcing the stay-at-home directive by the governor, have since been arrested by the authorities of the Nigerian Armed Forces.