The subsisting total lockdown in Abia state as directed by the government will be relaxed with effects from Monday, May 11, the government informs.
The Governor who spoke in a release signed by Barr. Chris Ezem, Secretary to State Government and Chairman, Abia State Covid-19 Committee, insisted that despite the anticipated relaxation of the order, residents must abide by the laid down precautionary measures to militate against further outbreak of the disease.
According to the release, the resolution was reached following series of consultations and considerations, including advice from medical experts.
The release states that all markets in the state shall open only 3 times a week viz: Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 9am to 3pm daily, adding that “relevant markets leadership have constituted a 17-man Enforcement Team that shall ensure provision of a minimum of 20 litres bucket with tap for running water, in addition to soap and sanitizers by each trader, and the wearing of face masks by both sellers and buyers in the market.”
“The enforcement teams are charged with the full responsibility of ensuring full compliance to social distancing in the markets at all times. They are also vested with powers to justifiably seal up any shop that circumvents any or all of these directives. Let it be noted that should there be any lapse on the part of the enforcement team of any market leading to a breach of these directives, such a market will be closed down by relevant local or state government authorities without any further recourse to the traders.”
Furthermore, the government maintains that the wearing of face masks is compulsory in Abia State, as law enforcement agents are authorised to apprehend offenders and present them before the Mobile Court for prosecution.
The release read in part:
“Commercial tricycle (Keke) operators and all other intra-state commercial transporters will now operate from 8am to 4pm daily. While keke operators can only carry 2 passengers at every point in time, mini buses (oke bekee) and other buses must not seat more than 2 persons per row with all passengers including the driver wearing face masks.
Burial ceremonies in the State are now allowed to hold only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays of the 1st and 3rd week of every month.
For burials to be conducted by churches whether on a field or church premises, attendance to such events must not be more than 30 persons while only 10 persons are allowed for the ones to hold at private residences. The same protocol applies to burials to be conducted according to native rites.
In all cases, the church leader or traditional ruler concerned is expected to apply to the office of the Secretary to State Government (SSG) through the Transition Council Chairman of the relevant Local Government Area for burial permit. It is an offence to conduct or attend burial ceremonies without wearing face masks.
All Eateries/Restaurants must operate only on a take-away basis and close latest by 7pm daily. Management, staff and customers of such eateries/restaurants must always have their face masks on and provide hand sanitizers and/or soap and running water for customers at the entry points”.
On movements across borders, Abia Government restated that borders shall remain closed thus prohibiting inter-state movements into Abia except “for vehicles transporting essential items such as food, drugs and others duly authorized by the federal or state government. Drivers and passengers (not exceeding 2) of such authorised vehicles must wear face masks and be ready to subject themselves to search and medical tests as necessary.”
Meanwhile, Government commended the various front line service providers, all those on essential services, environmental and community health workers, security operatives, State and Local Government enforcement teams, our donors, volunteer organizations, ASEPA, as well as Ndi-Abia for keeping faith with Government in the fight against Covid-19 in the State.