Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra on Saturday announced total lockdown of the state following the positive confirmation of a suspected Coronavirus Disease patient in the state.
Obiano said on Saturdy in Awka that contact tracing for the patient whose status was confirmed by Nigeria Centre for Diseased Control (NCDC) on Friday night had begun.
The governor expressed regret that in spite of all the proactive measures put in place to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 in the state, an index case was established by the NCDC on April 10.
Obiano, who announced that the total lockdown would commence on April 11, urged Anambra residents not to panic as the situation was under control since Coronavirus did not meet the state unprepared.
He commanded the people of the state for their cooperation with the government and various institutions, including healthcare, traditional rulers, churches and security agencies for executing their tasks to ensure the protection of the people.
“I regret to announce that in spite of our proactive measures to insulate our dear state from this pandemic, we recorded the first case of Coronavirus in the state yesterday (Friday).
“The index case came in from Lagos and has been placed in one of our Protective Care Centers, we have commenced aggressive contact tracing to ensure that everyone he came in contact with is brought into the net for a professional handling that will save lives.
“I urge you not to panic over this, it did not take us by surprise, we are adequately prepared to handle the situation.
“We have trained enough manpower on how to handle Covid-19 cases and our Protective Care Centers are among the best in the country at the moment; on the strength of this, I urge you to stand strong in prayer and faith,” he said in a broadcast to the people of Anambra.
The governor announced that as part of effort to ensure that the outbreak did not escalate, all former guidelines on social gathering and hygiene remained in force, while the closure of Anambra borders is extended by two weeks.
He said only people on essential services would be permitted to move about in the state till further notice as residents of the state were expected to stay indoors with their loved ones.
“The restriction on movement is hereby extended by two weeks, this time, we are placing a comprehensive lockdown on Anambra State.
“We shall not tolerate any movement across the state by individuals and groups. Only people on essential services are permitted to move around in the delivery of those services to the people.
“Residents of the state are advised to stay indoors to avoid getting contaminated by this virus, security agencies will enforce the restriction on movement this time and they have my authorisation to make arrests where necessary.
“All boundaries with neighbouring states remain closed, there will be no vehicular or human traffic across all the boundaries of Anambra, only vehicles delivering essential services are permitted after a comprehensive check and authorisation.
“Frequent washing of hands with soap for at least 20 seconds under running water as well as theregular use of hand sanitizers are strongly recommended. In fact, everyone is expected to carry a hand sanitizer with him or her at any given time.
“Everyone is expected to stay indoors with their families and loved ones, however, anyone who wishes to step outdoors for any reason at all must wear a face mask.
“Anyone who violates this directive stands a chance of arrest and prosecution.
“Handshaking, hugging and all other forms of physical contact are strongly discouraged, we are also advised to minimise contact with door handles and hand rails and commonly used surfaces in different locations.
“A distance of 6 feet must be maintained during interaction with people. Everyone is advised to keep a reasonable social distance when holding a conversation with someone else,” he said.
Obiano said the preventive care centres at NYSC permanent camp, Mbaukwu/Umuawulu, General Hospital Onitsha were functional, while two such centres at Ekwulobia and Umueri were almost ready.
He expressed gratitude to all individuals, groups and firms who donated money and materials to support the government’s efforts to manage the situation and mitigate the sufferings of the people.