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COVID-19: Akwa Ibom closes down entry points, suspends air travel

As part of the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease in Nigeria, the government of Akwa Ibom State has ordered the closure of all roads and borders leading in and out of the state.

According to a statement signed by the Secretary to State Government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, the order which takes immediate effect, however, exempted the transportation of food items.

Ekuwem, who noted that although there was no case of coronavirus in the state, the decision is a preventive measure, which follows a critical analysis of the COVID-19 situation in other states.

He revealed that flight operations by the state-owned airline, Ibom Air, will be suspended from Friday, 27 March 2020.

The statement reads in part:

“Workers are advised to prepare to stop going to work and stay at home for one (1) week with effect from Monday 30 March 2020. The stay-at-home order will be strongly enforced.

“Salaries of state government workers for the month of March will be paid today, Thursday, March 26, 2020.

“Markets are to remain open for the sale of foodstuff and essential items only.

“All Churches are strongly requested to fast and pray for God’s mercies on Sunday 29 March 2020.

“Residents and citizens are strongly advised to apply all the preventive measures earlier announced.

“While the one-week stay-at-home order subsists, the Akwa Ibom State Government will continue to monitor and provide regular updates on any development in the COVID-19 situation in our state

“The Governor also enjoins all residents and citizens; including professional bodies, to desists from creating unnecessary panic within the state by propagating unverified news, whipping up selfish and myopic sentiments and fanning the embers of discord for pecuniary or political gains.”

Health professionals in Akwa Ibom state, had in a meeting on Monday, faulted the state government over its refusal to shut down its land and marine entry points, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus into the state.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, some states across the country have ordered the closure of markets, religious centres, schools, offices and leisure spots, while workers have been ordered to stay at home.

With 65 cases recorded, amidst one death, three (3) persons who contracted the virus, were on Thursday discharged following their recovery.

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