GOVERNOR WILLIE OBIANO, of Nigerian southeast Anambra State, on Monday, said, through a statement by Don Adinuba, Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, that he relaxed the 28 days lockdown on the state to prevent and control the spread of coronavirus, to avert the starvation of the people.
Striking a balance between protecting the economy and public health, Governor Obiano said, was imperative in the fight against coronavirus pandemic. And easing the restriction of movements in the State, was sequel to the treatment of the state’s index case, as well as, 68 contact persons who tested negative for the virus.
Jubilation rented the air in Anambra State, on Saturday, when in a broadcast, Governor Obiano said: “I am delighted to tell you that our index case has been discharged and has reunited with the family. I urge you not to fear but rather exercise your faith in God.
“Following the outcome of all tests we have conducted so far and the cooperation we have received from our people in the past three weeks, all food markets, including restaurants and bars in Anambra State are to reopen for normal business with immediate effect.”
“With regards to religious groups, leaders of the church should ensure that worshippers comply with the standards protocols of COVID-19 which includes wearing of face masks to church, use of hand sanitisers, social distancing and regular washing of hands.
“Church leaders should decide how best to conduct mass and service in strict adherence to the principles of social distancing to ensure that worshippers are not endangered. Please note that there should be no crusades and vigils for the time being. When to re-open the schools, as well as when civil servants will be allowed to go back to offices will be announced soon.”
Monday’s follow up statement, by Dan Adinuba, Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Obiano said: “Like every other government, the Anambra State administration is bound to protect its people from the ravages of COVID-19, but it cannot afford to do so by unwittingly allowing millions of its people to die of hunger and starvation or by causing their businesses to collapse through an unmitigated lockdown.
“The 28 days of lockdown, when all markets were shut down, vehicular and human movements restricted, schools closed, traditional religious services suspended, funerals, wedding and title taking ceremonies practically stopped, have already taken an enormous toll on the people’s well-being.
“Social unrest must be avoided. If people in developed nations could not accept more than three weeks of lockdown, despite the immense social safety nets for the poor and the huge amounts paid by governments directly to the citizens who lost their jobs in the wake of COVID-19, we can imagine what the most vulnerable in our society and elsewhere in Africa have been going through.”
Though the restriction has been eased, schools remained closed, and civil servants were still working from home and visitors were not permitted into the state.