By Yakubu Uba
Following the confirmation of one COVID-19 index case in Borno, the state is to observe a two-week total lockdown as from Wednesday, says Gov. Babagana Zulum.
Zulum, who made the declaration in a broadcast in Maiduguri on Monday, however, said the restriction would not apply to the providers of essential services.
“In the exercise of the powers conferred on me, I have signed an Executive Order, declaring COVID-19 a dangerous disease.
“For this, I am hereby directing a lockdown that will require cessation of all movements in Borno State for an initial period of 14 days, with effect from 10.30 p.m on Wednesday, April 22.
“All citizens in Borno State are to stay in their homes.
“This means all public gatherings are restricted, while offices and businesses in Borno State are to be fully closed during this period.
“Security and intelligence agencies have been briefed for enforcement.
“Government will use this period of restriction to accelerate the tracing and isolation of persons who have been in contact with the index case,” Zulum said.
The governor promised to set up a panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the outbreak and handling of the index case in state.
He said the high powered team under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, had been directed to as from Tuesday to commence a daily centralised media briefing on the pandemic.
“The high powered team will on a daily basis provide citizens with timely updates and information on access to essential needs, such as foods, medical services and automated banking services.
“Government will continue to observe developments as we hope to make progress in concerted efforts to contain spread of the deadly virus.
“We are very much aware of the peculiar challenges we face in Borno State. We intend to be very particular about Internally Displaced Persons.
“We will continue to support them. We shall as time passes, consider social interventions for vulnerable citizens.
“We recognise that the decision to impose restriction will cause difficulties and alter the plans we make differently.
“However, as COVID-19 has reminded us, health comes ahead of everything we seek,” Zulum said.
The governor assured that government had taken necessary measures with the determination and hope to secure the lives of residents in the state.
“We pray and hope that these measures, amongst other steps we are adopting, will contribute significantly in controlling the spread of Coronavirus in Borno State,” he said.
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