Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
In a bid to boost the response of Bayelsa State to the COVID-19 challenge, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri has converted an 80-bed mother and child referral hospital built by Chevron Nigeria Limited and its Agbami partners to a temporary isolation centre in the fight against COVID-19.
Though Bayelsa State is yet to record a confirmed case of the dreaded infection, the state is pushing ahead to adequately prepare so as to stop an outbreak in the state.
Diri stated this at the official handing over of the facility sited within the premises of the Bayelsa State Medical University to the state government in Yenagoar said the conversion is aimed at tackling a more dreadful disease threatening the lives of everyone and not an attempt to deny the people of the state of other health services.
He further stated that with the initial provision of the isolation wards at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital at Okolobiri to combat the virus and the new addition, the state was ready to tackle the pandemic in the event of any index case.
Diri urged citizens resident in Bayelsa to strictly comply with all safety standards issued by the World Health Organisation as well as government directives geared toward preventing the spread of the virus into the state.
To this end, the governor directed the Bayelsa Vigilante and the Bayelsa Volunteers to join the security operatives at the boundary points with Delta and Rivers states in order to reinforce the government’s lockdown directives.
His words: ” On Wednesday in our Governors Forum meeting, we agreed to enforce and reinforce the lockdown of movement between states. Therefore, interstate movement is restricted in and out of the state.
“Nobody comes into and nobody goes out of Bayelsa for the next two weeks. I therefore direct security agencies to enforce this directive just as I again appeal to our citizens to obey and respect the directive.”
Diri expressed optimism that with the cooperation of everyone, the virus had no place in Bayelsa coupled with the round-the-clock effort of the State Taskforce on COVID-19.
The governor on behalf of people of the state expressed satisfaction with the quality of equipment in the facility donated by Chevron and its partners, noting that it was a worthy example of good corporate social responsibility.
Meanwhile Diri has extended by two weeks the dusk to dawn curfew imposed in the state in line with the decision by the NGF to restrict interstate movements to contain the spread of Covid-19 across the country.
In a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Information and Orientation and member Bayelsa State Task Force on COVID-19, Freston Akpor, says movement will be restricted between seven o’clock in the evening to six o’clock in the morning.