(Dianabasi Effiong, NAN)
The Rivers State Government has expressed deep worry that the state could gradually become the next epicentre of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) with rising number of positive cases of the pandemic.
Consequently, the state government has imposed a total lockdown of Bonny Local Government Area and Onne community in Eleme Local Government Area of the state.
This is contained in a statement issued by the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, in Port Harcourt.
According to the statement, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers announced the measures to contain further spread of the virus in a statewide broadcast on Saturday.
Nsirim stated that the total lockdown, expected to take effect from June 21 in the affected areas, was meant to check the spread of coronavirus in the state.
“The Governor noted that with a total of 866 positive cases out of 2,572 tested samples, the State is gradually becoming the next epicentre of the virus in the South-South region of the country.
“He said that within this period, the state also recorded 30 deaths, including prominent persons, while 356 persons recovered and were discharged from Treatment Centres.
“According to the Governor, only today the state recorded 127 new cases leaving the Isolation and Treatment Centres overwhelmed.
“As the number of new cases and deaths continue to increase, the Governor said there is no more denying that coronavirus is both dangerous and deadly.
“We cannot also deny that the transmission of the virus in our state is currently on a steep upward trend.
“This being so, we must all brace up to the reality of having new infections and a couple of deaths in the coming weeks and months,’’ Nsirim stated.
The statement also urged residents of the state to prepare for statewide lockdown if infections continue to increase unabated.
It also advised residents of Bonny local government and Onne community, except those on essential services and duly exempted, to stay at home as part of measures to check the pandemic in those areas.
“Pursuant to the fundamental objective of stopping the spread of coronavirus, we have reviewed the situation in Bonny Island and Onne Communities and come to the conclusion that a total lockdown is necessary at this time to shut down the continuing spread of the virus in these communities.
“By this measure, all shops, offices and business places must remain closed. All gatherings, including religious, burial and wedding activities are prohibited.
“All entry and exit points into the two communities, except those on essential services and duly permitted, are also banned.
“Security agencies have been directed to enforce the lockdown by arresting and prosecuting anyone who dares to disobey these directives,” the statement read in part.