From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Governor Nasir El-Rufai has disclosed that Kaduna State is experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 infections, warning that the government is considering several options to manage the situation.
The Governor urged citizens to adopt and practice prevention protocols such as wearing face masks and avoiding crowded places and large gatherings to enable the State contain the spread without imposing a new lockdown.
A statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, on Thursday said that Governor El-Rufai conveyed his concern at the 2021 budget signing ceremony which held at Government House on Wednesday.
Speaking at the event, the Governor expressed concern that infection rates are now hovering between 20% and 35%.
The statement quoted the Governor as saying that ‘by August and September, we were down to 1%, 2%, 3% infection rates from samples we tested. Now, we are hovering between 20% and 35%.
‘The rate of infections is surging and we have now decided that every employee of Kaduna State Government must be tested and no person will be allowed to enter any government office, any hospital, any school, any public facility without mask and maintaining social distancing,’ he warned.
As part of the measures for managing the situation, the Governor said the State will ‘bring back mobile courts to enforce the wearing of masks because if we don’t do that, these infections will continue to rise and will affect the lives and livelihoods of our people.’
Governor El-Rufai explained that compliance with COVID-19 prevention protocols represents the most effective and least costly way to contain the disease.
According to the Governor, the state prefers to avoid a lockdown but may have no option if the adherence to prevention controls does not improve.
‘If people refuse to wear masks and observe social distancing, we will consider locking down the state once again. Nobody wants that. We know the impact of that on lives and livelihoods, but we must save lives first,’ he said.
The statement appealed to the people of Kaduna State that ‘COVID-19 is real, it has not gone; it is still there, and it is still a clear and present danger to the lives and livelihoods of our people.’
The Governor noted that ‘a lot of government business will still have to be done online and through virtual meetings, large gatherings must be prohibited.’