COVID-19 pandemic: Rivers locks down Bonny LG, Onne

The Rivers state government has imposed a total lockdown on Bonny Local Government Area and Onne Community in Eleme Local Government Area with effect from June 21, to check the spread of coronavirus in the state.

Consequently, all residents of Bonny Local Government and Onne community, except those on essential services and duly exempted must stay at home.

Governor Nyesom Wike announced this Saturday in a state-wide broadcast.

He said: “Pursuant to the fundamental objective of stopping the spread of coronavirus, we have reviewed the situation in Bonny Island and Onne community 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 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,” he said.

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 the deaths of prominent persons while 356 persons recovered and were discharged from the various treatment centres in the state.

According to the governor, 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.

“When we recognised that effective early response was key to preventing the virus from progressing deep, we introduced drastic measures to protect our citizens.

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“Unfortunately, some people deliberately twisted our intentions, maligned our timely measures and exploited the attendant temporary hardship on our people to further their selfish political drives.

“Today, I am sure with the daily worrisome number of new infections and the fear of possible calamitous community transmission, everyone is now seeing the needless politicization of the fight against coronavirus.

“Nevertheless, we are encouraged by the fact that the virus can effectively be stopped from spreading further, if only we all submit to the prescribed guidelines on social distancing as a matter of strict responsibility,” he stated.

Gov.Wike regretted the nonchalant attitude of those who blatantly violate the rights of people to good health and public safety by refusing to comply with established guidelines.

He therefore, appealed to all residents and visitors to treat the spread of the coronavirus with all seriousness by staying at home as much as possible, avoid contacts with others when outside, avoid gathering in groups, embrace regularly washing of hands and wearing of face masks in public places.

The governor assured that the state government would continue to collaborate with well-meaning partners to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

He stated that it was not the time to play politics and called on residents to accept individual responsibility to reduce the risk of transmission.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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