Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has, in order to further contain the spread of COVID-19, on Monday evening extended the state’s lockdown order by six days.
The governor said the decision was taken after careful deliberation with the state COVID-19 task force on the impact and gains of the last four weeks, and “in view of the sudden spike in our confirmed cases from a total of four to eight with five active cases at the weekend.”
Fayemi, in a statewide broadcast, announced a 6 pm to 6 am dusk to dawn curfew every day of the week until further notice, with no vehicle or human traffic to be allowed except for verified medical emergencies.
Fayemi, who said that the government will be endangering the lives of Ekiti residents if the lockdown is totally lifted said “the current lockdown directive which ends yesterday (Monday) April 27th is hereby extended for another six (6) days until 23:59 hours on Sunday, May 3rd, 2020.
“All conditions and exemptions remain in force during the extension. Fresh Orders. Starting from Monday, May 4th 2020.”
He said the lockdown declared since March 29th will now be relaxed from Monday, May 4th and give room for a limited resumption of business activities for only three days a week: (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays), between the hours of 7 am and 4 pm only, to allow the self-employed earn some income to feed their families and not wait solely on the government for palliatives.
The governor, however, urged that citizens must observe social distancing, hand washing and wearing of masks protocols at all times.
“Businesses must provide liquid soap and running water for handwashing while supermarkets should not have more than 10 persons at any time in their stores saying businesses that do not comply will be shut down for 6 months.”
He added that the stay-at-home directive and restriction of movement order of the government will be enforced 4 days a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays).
Only essential services including food, medical, beverages, petroleum, banks, agriculture, construction, select media and telecommunications, according to the governor, are exempted from the restriction; while violators will be prosecuted and may be fined or imprisoned.
“Only food, medical, beverages, petroleum, agriculture and construction supply trucks are exempted but they cannot have more than three persons per truck. Any vehicle caught in violation may be forfeited to the state and passengers prosecuted.”
“Wearing of face masks is now compulsory in Ekiti State. Everyone must wear a face mask when going out of the home so you don’t spread the virus to others. Residents are advised to make their own masks while government will provide masks for essential duty workers only. Guidelines on how to make them will be provided. Reusable fabric masks that can be washed after every use is appropriate. Face masks will be strictly enforced on the streets so, if you cannot wear a face mask, stay at home as you may be arrested and prosecuted for wilfully endangering public health.”
The governor said all travel from and into the State are also banned as all boundaries of Ekiti State will be on lockdown 24 hours daily
“Interstate travel is hereby restricted. Visits to or from Ekiti State is prohibited while the pandemic subsists. Insistent visitors must be prepared to be turned back or kept in our border town quarantine centres for 14 days minimum and shall be responsible for their own upkeep.”
On travels within the state, Fayemi said “commercial transportation will be allowed to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 am – 4 pm only on the condition that they comply with strict social distancing directives. Okadas can only carry one passenger, taxis not more than three passengers and tricycles not more than two passengers. Any driver who violates this directive will be arrested, prosecuted and may forfeit the vehicle or cycle to the government. If mass violation occurs, commercial transportation will be completely banned indefinitely.”
He said any facility that violates the prohibition of large gatherings – social, religious, educational and political – until the pandemic is brought under control may be shut down for not less than 12 months
“Major markets remain closed. All major markets, including Oja Oba, Oja Bisi, Shasha and major LGA market days, remain closed every day of the week.
“Residents are advised to patronize the neighbourhood markets or sell their wares from home. Violators will be arrested, prosecuted and may forfeit their goods to the state government or have their stores shut down for six months even after the pandemic is contained.”
The governor restated that his government will continue to strengthen the safety and security structures across the state to protect law-abiding citizens, saying special focus will be given to all boundary communities in the state to strictly enforce restricted access into the state.
“Local Government Chairmen and Traditional Rulers of such communities must assume responsibility for strict compliance especially on back roads or bush paths as we cannot afford another slip that could import the virus into the state,” he said.
Fayemi noted that only officers from grade level 13, administrative officers, essential workers may resume for work on the authorised days with strict adherence to the social distancing rules.
He added that the government will continue to monitor the situation and if there is any reason to review the new measures, “we shall not hesitate to do so because our primary duty is to keep Ekiti people safe and secure.
He added that an expanded Executive Order for all the directives will be signed into law to empower law enforcement agencies to ensure full compliance.