Imo Lifts Ban on Burial for 2 Weeks

Hope Uzodinma

Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has expressed displeasure over the non-compliance of the citizens with the government’s directives on the prevention of the spread of coronavirus in the state. He however lifted the ban on burials for two weeks.

Uzodinma who temporarily lifted the ban on burials in the state stated that due to pressure from operators of mortuaries who were complaining that their facilities were full, government had to allow people a period of two weeks, from May 16, to bury their loved ones with strict procedures that must be adhered to.

The procedures outlined include: that the family would first write to the Local Government Interim Management Chairman, who, in turn, would give them approval in writing stating the date of the burial; that there will be no ceremony after the burial and that the burial, which must not last more than two hours would not have more than 20 persons in attendance at a time including the priest.

The governor also emphasised that the organisers must provide hand washing basins, soaps, sanitisers, and that social distancing must be observed. He warned that the local councils will monitor the burials and anybody who violates the rules will be arrested and prosecuted.

Briefing newsmen yesterday on the situation, Governor Uzodinma regretted that four new cases from one family had been reported by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to have tested positive to the disease in Imo State.

The governor noted that despite strict orders for the closure of the boundaries, people still infiltrated the state from outside. He regretted that the infected person came in from Lagos and went to his village where he, in turn, infected three of his family members. This, he said, portend danger to those living in the villages and should be avoided because of the fear of community spread.

While reiterating that he would stop at nothing to protect the life of Imo citizens from the dreaded virus, Governor Uzodinma warned that he would be left with no option than to order for a total lockdown if citizens of the state continue to violate the directives and measures put in place by government to contain the spread of the virus.

“I want to warn citizens of Imo State that Coronavirus is very serious and must be taken seriously. This COVID-19 does not know political parties, religion, language or class. It is a dangerous virus that we must unite to fight. By Tuesday, May 19, 2020, I will review the situation. If the violation continues, we will have no option than to lockdown the state completely to save the lives of our people,” he warned.