Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State late on Tuesday declared a total lockdown of the state with effect from Wednesday April 1, 2020 as the state intensified efforts to prevent the deadly Coronavirus also known as Covid-19 from spreading into the state.
This followed an earlier order closing down all land borders of the state.
The state is yet to record any case of the global pandemic since it first broke out in Lagos in March.
Okowa in a state-wide broadcast, prohibited further movement of people, goods and services into, within, and out of all parts of Delta State.
He declared that all residents not providing essential services were to remain at home till further notice from April 1.
“The prohibition of the gathering of persons in the state for conferences, meetings, religious worship, festivals, private events, public visits, burials, weddings, traditional marriages and other social events.
“The temporary closure of public places, such as event centres, bars, night clubs/lounges, cinemas, markets, supermarkets, malls, shops, restaurants/canteens.
“There shall be no street football or any other sporting activities on the streets or neighbourhood during this emergency period,” the governor declared.
Okowa backed his action with relevant sections of the law including the Delta State Public Health Law Cap P21 Laws of Delta State 2006, section 8 of the Quarantine Act, Cap Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, (having regard to the provisions of Sections 2,3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004), and further pursuant to the Infections Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulation 2020 and other enabling Laws and powers in that regard.
According to the governor, foodstuff sellers who are permitted to conduct their businesses within the precinct of their homes, will be monitored to ensure they adhere strictly to the social distancing rules.
“Markets for only the sales of food items and water will be organized in designated primary/secondary schools in each local government areas of the state; they will be coordinated and supervised by the local government chairmen and their teams to ensure compliance with the rules on social distancing,” he added.
He further declared that it will be an offense to inflate the prices of food,drugs and other essential goods and services or hoard such essential items, adding that anyone caught contravening the law will sanctioned as stipulated in the Infections Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulation 2020.
However, the restriction of movement does not apply to people involved in the transportation of essential supplies such as food, water, petroleum products, pharmaceutical products, medical/emergency supplies or other essential supplies as may be cleared by the governor’s office.
Okowa said banks will remain open for skeletal services during the period of emergency, even as he solicited the cooperation of all residents in complying with the latest directives.