Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State government says effective from Monday, the 13th of this month; it will commence the enforcement of wearing of face masks in all public places as part of precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Governor Douye Diri stated this during an interactive meeting with representatives of financial institutions, major markets including supermarkets operating in the state.
Represented by his deputy Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the governor said given the spike in the COVID-19 statistics recorded recently in the state, it has become imperative to make wearing of face masks and observance of the COVID-19 guidelines mandatory.
His words:”The state government is going to enforce wearing of face masks in public places. If you don’t have a face mask, don’t go near any of our markets, don’t go near any bank and even the precincts of the bank.
“You must be seen wearing a face mask but if you don’t, the taskforce will hold the bank and customers without face masks liable. The same is applicable to the supermarkets.”
Senator Diri who noted that the present administration had distributed over 9,000 face masks to traders in all major markets, assured that additional face masks would be made available to them.
The Governor called on the management of all markets and the banking sector to prevail on their customers on the need to comply with all COVID-19 protocols in order to prevent further spread of the infection.
Senator Diri who said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to about 286 within 24 hours with 16 deaths in the state as at Tuesday this week, noted that the statistics indicated that Bayelsa is one of the states with the highest mortality rate in the country.
“We have discovered that Coronavirus figures in Bayelsa are spiking. As at yesterday (7th July) before this morning, we had an additional case. We now have 286 cases out of which 112 have been discharged, with over 60 active cases and we have lost 16 persons.”
He also expressed dismay that in spite of the ongoing sensitisation about the existence and dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic, the attitudinal change of some people towards the virus is not impressive.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodu Apoku, attributed the spike in the cases of COVID-19 to improper use of face masks, stressing that a lot still needed to be done to raise the level of awareness on the need to practice social distancing and observe other COVID-19 guidelines.