Bayelsa Extends Stay-at-home Order by One Week

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Douye Diri 

Following the expiration of the earlier directive, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, yesterday extended the stay-at-home order on the people in the state by one week.

Diri also made mandatory the wearing of face masks in public in compliance with the presidential directive, adding that violators risk prosecution.

The governor gave the fresh directive during a meeting of the state COVID-19 taskforce and other top government officials in the Government House in Yenagoa, the state capital.

His acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that the state had adopted the imposition of the nationwide curfew from 8p.m. to 6a.m. effective from May 4 as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The governor equally directed the state-owned International Institute of Hospitality and Tourism to work out the modalities to produce large quantities of face masks to be distributed to members of the public as part of efforts to check further spread of the virus in the state.

According to him, “We must all now compulsorily put on our face masks for our own health and safety. We have the option of a cloth face mask or a surgical mask.”

He further stated that the inter-state borders and maritime domain of Bayelsa State would remain locked down for 24 hours while intra-city and intra-state movement would still be allowed but people must observe all the precautionary measures.

Other directives include the exemption of foodstuff markets, supermarkets, petrol and gas stations, pharmaceuticals as well as vehicles conveying foodstuff and other essential items, from the order.

All social gatherings, including weddings and funerals, however, remained restricted.

On worship centres, the governor directed that churches and mosques with large congregation would be allowed with 50 worshippers while 20 is permitted for smaller ones.

Diri, however, admonished religious leaders to comply with the directives on the COVID-19 pandemic as the full weight of the law would be brought on defaulters to serve as a deterrent to others.

“Let me caution that if we are not using the instruments of coercion, it does not mean that we cannot enforce the rules. But what we are doing is for our safety, so do not provoke the security and health personnel and all other government officials whose responsibility it is to enforce the executive order signed by the president and governor for the safety and health of our state,” he stated.