AKWA IBOM GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ENFORCEMENT OF COVID-19 GUIDELINES MORE SERIOUSLY. ~DR EMMANUEL EKUWEM
My friends in the media, although the issue of COVID-19 has continued to dominate discourse around the world, nations are evolving ways to own back their lives, in a new normal. As such, in spite of the prevailing danger posed by COVID-19, the engines of economies around the world have started coming back to live.
Here in Akwa Ibom State, our Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has continued to lead the charge in the fight against COVID-19 by deploying all relevant and available resources to ensure the pandemic does not take root among us.
As part of His Excellency’s proactive steps, he has constituted a committee to begin the implementation of the recommendations of the Post COVID-19 Economic Reconstruction Committee. That committee is making progress. This commitment by the administration underscores the premium placed on the welfare of the people by Governor Emmanuel.
In line with global trends the Federal Government has opened up the aviation sector and inter-state borders to allow domestic flights and inter-state travels across the country. Consequently, the Victor Attah International Airport is buzzing with activities and Ibom Air is back in the air. An added good news for us is that Ibom Air has added the Lagos-Calabar; Lagos – Abuja routes, in the bid to extend quality service to more air travelers.
Akwa Ibom state government has equally reviewed the lockdown imposed on the state. As such, local economic activities are picking up and our people are now having social events like marriages and funerals. Although, comparatively, the COVID-19 situation in our state remains within manageable limits, we have remained strict with observance of safety guidelines an protocols in all gatherings.
Gatherings in a Church building for the purpose of wedding or funeral are limited to a maximum of 30 persons, while open air gatherings for same purposes must have more than 50 persons. However, we are deeply concerned by the high level of non-compliance to the COVID 19 safety protocols.
The success so far recorded in the management of the pandemic in Akwa Ibom, bears testimony to the dedication and assiduous efforts of all the frontline health workers, security agents, Christian Association of Nigeria, political and other stakeholders, including different task forces set up to monitor and enforce compliance with stipulated regulations across the state.
The efforts and sincerity of the state government towards curtailing the pandemic in Akwa Ibom was again acknowledged and commended not long ago, when the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, led a delegation of WHO to inspect medical facilities put in place in the state. The DG did not mince words when he praised Governor Emmanuel for being proactive in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. To the glory of God, he scored our Emergency Operations Centre as one of the best in the country.
As caring leader who is deeply concerned about the welfare of the citizenry, Governor Udom Emmanuel recently gave directive for the second round of the distribution of assorted food items, in larger quantities than we had in the first round of the exercise, as palliatives to ameliorate the economic hardship occasioned by the COVID-I9 pandemic, particularly among the very poor in the over 3000 villages across the state.
CURRENT STATISTICS OF COVID-19 IN AKWA IBOM
Confirmed cases: 176
Discharged cases: 121
Total Active Cases: 52
ENFORCEMENT OF COVID-19 REGULATIONS
Apart from doing our best through the use of technology and the cooperation of security agents, the state government, through committees has stepped up monitoring of compliance in worship centres, markets and other public places. During our meeting with leaders of traders associations across the state, we directed that henceforth, wearing of face mask is now compulsory for people buying and selling in markets the state.
As a way of ensuring that the message of COVID-19 gets to the grassroots, we met with all the 31 Local Government Chairmen, where we impressed on them, the need to use all resources at their disposal to intensify and enforce the social distancing requirements, and practice the guidelines and safety protocols that have been put in place by the state government, NCDC and the World Health Organisation.
At this point, let me reiterate that citizens and residents in the state are still expected to comply with all guidelines, for the curtailment of the pandemic. Government will not shy away from invoking enabling laws on erring individuals and organizations. For the avoidance of doubt, curfew in Akwa Ibom State begins from 8pm to 6am.
In addition, the use of face mask is compulsory for everyone outside of the home environment. Further to that, many people who wear facemasks do so wrongly. Improper use of face mask is as good as not using it and still poses great danger to and sundry.
All residents and citizens are again reminded to always ensure strict adherence to all stipulated guidelines, in order to prevent community spreading of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Let me use this opportunity to once again acknowledge and appreciate on behalf of the state government, the support we have continued to receive from well meaning individuals, groups, corporate organizations and government agencies. I must say that the material and financial support so far received have served as morale booster in the fight against the pandemic in Akwa Ibom State.
Therefore, I urge other citizens and organizations not to hold back whatever support they feel inclined to make available to the state in this regard.
Let me again appeal to all citizens and residents to please continue to cooperate with government in the fight to curtail the surge of the COVID19 Pandemic in our state.
Stay safe; Be safe. Abide by all COVID-19 preventive guidelines.
-Being AKWA IBOM STATE COVID-19 UPDATE (15) by Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, Secretary to State Government & Chairman of COVID-19 Committee, Akwa Ibom State on Tuesday, July 21, 2020.