The Borno state coronavirus (COVID-19) response team; has suspended the three-week lockdown indefinitely, as cases of the virus continue to decline.
Announcing the suspension on Wednesday in Maiduguri, COVID-19 response team Chairman, Umar Kadafur, who doubles as Deputy Governor, disclosed: “There has been significant progress in the fight against Covid-19 over the last three weeks,” adding that the stringent COVID-19 measures have yielded desired results of surveillance, testing and treatments of patients.
He, therefore, appreciated the immense “support and cooperation” enjoined from members of the public during the three-week lockdown.
Kadafur however; warned that where the situation escalates; the state government should revert to the status quo.
“The use of facemasks by the public; is mandatory and enforceable by the COVID-19 pandemic response team,” he said.
He also directed traditional; religious and community leaders and other opinion leaders to enforce social distancing at public gatherings and places of worship.
While lamenting non-compliance to social distancing, he said: “There should be a restriction on public gatherings, especially funeral processions/rights, weddings, naming ceremonies to not more than 20 persons.
“All medical consultations by Pharmacies and patent medicine stores that are related to Covid-19 or similar ailments; be referred to the government hospital,” he said; warning that as defaulters will be prosecuted.
He reiterated that on no account government hospitals reject any patient whether because of COVID-19 or other ailments.
This was why; he said the government is studying the Federal Government’s agreement with health unions with a view of implementing it at the state level.
On the conduct of Jumat prayers, he said: “The Friday and five daily prayers will henceforth be observed in all mosques across the state.
“These are the recommendations submitted Wednesday to State Government by BOCU,” adding that weekly and daily are to be conducted with strict adherence to social distancing and use of face masks.
While the Churches he added; conduct their services in strict adherence to social distancing and wear of facemasks as recommended by State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) According to him, the ban on sales and consumption of liquor and other intoxicating substances is still enforced.
“Defaulters will be dealt with severely in accordance with the liquor law,” he warned.
Continued; “All vehicles, including tricycles, must also ensure the use of face mask as defaulters be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.”
While enforcing COVID-19 order, Kadafur said: “Appropriate measures, are being put in place to enforce restrictions at entry and exit points across the state,” noting that drivers of vehicles transporting essential goods and services into Maiduguri; are, however; exempted, but subjected to COVID-19 tests at all entry point.
According to him; COVID-19 response committee will continue to monitor the situation as they unfold and appropriate action being taken accordingly.
He added that workers on grade level 1-12 should continue to work from home except they are directed to resume work.
On the end of Ramadan congregational Eid prayers, he said: “Government has considered the recommendation of BOCU; which clearly states that the Eid prayers are non-obligatory,” disclosing that there should be no congregational open field prayers; as Muslims are to remain at home during the Id el Fitr celebration.