The Borno State governor Babagana Umara Zulum has approved the suspension the lockdown imposed on non-essential movement, following significant progress recorded in the fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the state.
The Deputy Governor of the state, Umar Kadafur, who doubles as the chairman of the state’s High Powered Response Team for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19, announced this in a statement on Wednesday in Maiduguri.
He said: “In furtherance of the efforts to contain and eradicate this deadly scourge, the High Powered Committee wishes to announce the indefinite suspension of the lockdown for the time being.”
He attributed the successes recorded in the state to the stringent measures adopted to contain the virus which had yielded the desired result.
Mr Kadafur said the suspension of lockdown was to study the situation, noting that government will not hesitate to revert to status quo if the pandemic escalate.
He declared use of face mask in all public places to be mandatory in the state.
He directed all government officials, traditional rulers, religious leaders, community and opinion leaders to adhere strictly to the enforcement of social/physical distancing in places of worship and social gathering.
He reminded residents that funeral processions, weddings and naming ceremonies were restricted to 20 persons only.
He explained that all civil servants of Grade level 1-12 should continue to work from home except directed otherwise.
The chairman also directed that all medical consultations by pharmacists and patent medicine stores related to COVID-19 should be referred to designated government hospitals.
He warned that defaulters of such directives would face the full wrath of the law.
“Henceforth, Jumma’at prayers and five daily prayers shall be observed in all mosques as recommended by the Borno State Council of Ulamas.
“Churches shall also conduct services as recommended by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
“All congregations must be observed based on strict principles of COVID-19 preventive measures which included social distancing, use of face mask and hand sanitiser,” he said.
According to him, the ban on sales and consumption of all alcoholic substances is still enforced, defaulters would be dealt with severely in accordance with extant laws.
Mr Kadafur said also that all vehicle and tricycle operators must use facemask while appropriate measures must be put in place to enforce restrictions at all entry and exit points across the state.
He added that all drivers of essential commodities must be subjected to COVID-19 test at the point of entry into the state.
“The Government has also considered the recommendation of the Borno State Council of Ulamas which clearly stated that Eid Prayers is Sunnah (non-obligatory) hence, there should be no Eid Prayers. Muslim faithful should remain at home during the period,” he said.
He lauded the residents for supporting government policies and programmes aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus.
NAN recalls that the state has so far recorded 16 deaths in 188 positive COVID-19 cases, while 12 persons had recovered and discharged after being tested nagative as at May 13.
The state COVID-19 response team had earlier said that all contact related to the first and second index cases which resulted to the spread of the pandemic had been successfully traced and were being managed.