Following the increase in COVID-19 cases in Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano announced on Tuesday in a broadcast that the re-opening of schools will be postponed by two weeks.
He also banned any gatherings in the state with the number of people in attendance exceeding 50 people while also threatening to close down markets that violate COVID-19 protocols.
He gave a one-week ultimatum to all 61 markets in the state to set up the necessary safety standards and ensure full compliance with COVID-19 protocols. He added that any market found violating the standards after one week shall be shut down quickly.
Governor Obiano also asked churches to form committees that would ensure that people’s habits were in line with COVID-19 safety procedures as they did during the first phase of the pandemic.
He said the decisions had become necessary following the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that was sweeping across the world.
The governor’s address read in part, “My administration has taken a string of hard decisions to stamp out the renewed spread of this pandemic before it gains a serious advantage over us.
“Sadly, it appears that our warnings fell on deaf ears. Our people allowed themselves to be carried away by the joys of the Yuletide and failed to maintain the COVID-19 protocols.”
He said: “This second threat is not only real but even more deadly. It is more deadly because after struggling with the pandemic for nine months, we have dropped our level of vigilance and returned to our normal lives, but the virus has not gone away. On the contrary, it has come back with renewed viciousness and it is claiming many lives because our people are not complying with the Covid-19 protocols”.
Obiano noted that as of December last year, 90,000 tests have been conducted and only 287 came back positive. “We were all enjoying the fruits of our collective efforts – the leaders of the church, traditional rulers, market leaders, school administrators and the general public had made great efforts to obey the standard Covid-19 protocols. We were doing just fine until the second wave of the pandemic crept in” he said.
The governor added that the second wave of the pandemic didn’t take them by surprise since he had been monitoring global trends and saw it coming. He said that efforts to prepare people had been made. There have been meetings with Igwes, religious leaders, transport operators, leaders of the market task force and leaders of various community groups and associations.
He concluded that “We shall align with any policy on a possible nationwide curfew by the Federal Government to ensure effective compliance”.
He explained that test centres are active and ready to handle cases with impressive turnaround time, adding that sample collection to all the 21 local government areas in the state had been cascaded.
“We have been here before. We shall overcome it a second time. But we must work together this time”.