COVID-19: Kwara reviews market opening, vehicular movt · Congregational prayers remain banned · Trucks carrying foods, services exempted

Kwara State Government has reviewed its earlier decision to allow vehicles to move on days earlier designated for restocking of foods and other essentials, directing residents to instead patronise neighbourhood shops and observe all safety protocols.

The review means that commercial and private vehicles are now barred from operating, except trucks and trailers conveying food stuffs, medicines and other essential services earlier exempted by the government in its effort to contain COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is an emerging public health development across the world and governments are studying situations and making adjustments to cope with the emergency,” Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Technical Committee on Covid-19 Kayode Alabi told a news briefing on Tuesday.

Alabi said marketers may now set up shops in schools and open spaces in their neighbourhood between 8 am and 12pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. He however said all congregational prayers remain banned as before.

His words: “Kwara now has four cases of COVID-19. They are two males and two females. As you may be aware, we have carried out a total of 42 tests, 29 of which were negative. We are waiting for nine results which may come in possibly later this evening. As I said earlier, we have four confirmed cases. Three of them show no symptoms. Only one is showing some symptoms but is stable. Of these four cases, one is a contact of the index case. The other was a patient at the UITH but now at the state’s isolation centre. There is a risk of community transmission which must be curtailed. The good news is that our rapid response team is in firm control of the situation — thanks to the support of the NCDC team led by own son Dr Shuaib Belgore and the COVID-19 Committee.

“Last week, the Kwara State Technical Committee announced some measures to enable people go out to get food and other essentials on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. In handing down these measures, the government called for respect for social distancing and other safety protocols.

“We experimented with the measure on Monday and observations were made. Accordingly, the committee is making the following adjustments:

· Government is hereby restoring full-scale lockdown across the state for the rest of the 14 days earlier declared
· Movement of all vehicles are banned except commercial vehicles carrying food, medications, goods and services. Trucks and trailers are to be allowed to pass through especially those coming from Lagos to the North. Trucks carrying raw materials and finished products are to be exempted.
· Marketers may use neighbourhood schools and open spaces to set up shops to meet the demands for food in the community while maintaining social distancing and all restrictions on social gatherings;
· Neighbourhood shops may also open between 8am -12pm Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.
· All previously announced restrictions on social and religious gatherings remain in force. For record, congregational prayers remain banned.
· Previous exemptions (such as for farmers, health workers, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, journalists, government contractors, banks, petrol stations) remain valid.
· For emphasis, except as stated above, all vehicular movements are banned including on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays that markets are to open. People are encouraged to patronise markets in their neighbourhood.

“We continue to appreciate our health workers for their priceless contributions to this effort. We urge the people of Kwara State to remain patient. We call for increased personal hygiene. This is the time for everyone to take responsibility for our individual and collective health.”

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/
Spokesman, Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19
14th April, 2020.

Kwara alleges plots to cause civil unrest over COVID-19 lockdown

Kwara State Government on Monday said it has uncovered plots by some prominent opposition figures to incite the public to protest against the lockdown order in the state.

“We have an intelligence report that some prominent members of the opposition have perfected a plan to incite the public against the government. The plot is to incite the people to disregard the directive of the government to stay at home and stay safe at this time of global pandemic,” Commissioner for Communication Murtala Olanrewaju said in a statement.

“Whatever the intent of these people, we warn them to desist forthwith as the government will take every measure to ensure that nobody goes against the directive to protect the people from the rampaging virus. Such plot shows that the people behind it cannot distinguish between politics and public safety.”

Olanrewaju urged the people to continue to respect the lockdown directive as failure to do so could prove fatal to the entire population.

“We must avoid anything that may expose all of us to the virus and attendant calamity. We do not want to bury any of our people on account of this pandemic. Anyone who has followed the trend in Europe and the US will understand that this is no time for the kind of politics these people are playing. We urge those behind this dangerous plot to drop it immediately..”

Quoting the NCDC, the statement said the virus spreads easily from person to person when people gather together, and called for increased adherence to social distancing and other safety measures.

Olanrewaju said the government’s decision to allow people to go out on designated days and time was to allow for restocking of foodstuffs and other essentials since “we cannot afford to feed everybody.”

“Even so, the government is reviewing the decision to see how we can balance the need to flatten the curve of transmission, which was the reason behind the lockdown, and the need to not let our people go hungry or totally cripple the economy,” he added.

Signed:

Alhaji Murtala Olanrewaju
Hon. Commissioner for Communication
13 April, 2020

Kwara exempts registered farmers, journalists from lockdown · Al-Hikmah Varsity, others donate to COVID-19 campaign

Kwara Farmers who can identify themselves with any registered farming associations are allowed to go to their farms during the total lockdown the government has declared to prevent the spread of Corona Virus in the state, a statement said early Saturday.

The Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 also exempted journalists on duty from the lockdown in line with global best practices during such emergencies.

“The Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 hereby permits such farmers to do their job unhindered during the lockdown to the extent that they can identify themselves as legitimate farmers. Even then, they are not expected to violate any of the safety protocols in the course of doing so,” Rafiu Ajakaye, CPS to the Governor and spokesperson for the Technical Committee, said in the statement.

“The committee urges all the enforcement agencies to please grant free passage to such farmers after identification. It is also to be noted that previous waivers to manufacturing firms are still valid on the condition that they maintain social distancing and scale down their operations. Petrol stations, banks, and hospitals are also exempted from the lockdown on the condition that all safety protocols are adhered to.

“Similarly, journalists are essential workers and should be given right of passage. Presentation of their work place identity cards duly issued by their organisations shall be enough to let them move around to do their work unhindered. This privilege shall apply only to all the media houses operating in the state. While reporters are known to move in groups during developments like this, the committee urges them (reporters) to maintain social distancing and other safety protocols at this time.

“We want to emphasise that all health workers remain exempted from this lockdown. They should be granted free passage at all time once they present their workplace identity card.”

The statement said pharmaceutical stores are also exempted from the lockdown.

The committee meanwhile said it has so far received a total of N98,469, 880 donations from corporate organisations and private individuals in support of its COVID-19 exercise — many of which had earlier been acknowledged.

Latest donors included the Al-Hikmah University (N5m); Into-University Educational Consult (100,000); Prince Victor Kolade (Victor Signs) (N100,000); Peter Pelumi Bamidele (N1,000); Amolegbe Oluwadamilola Fatimah (10,000); Promakar Farms Nigeria Limited (10,000); Aiyelabegan B. Rasaq (N2,000); Inyang Victor (N100,000); Amasa Mukhtar Olaide (20,000); and Suleiman Sadiq Umar (N500,000).

“We commend everyone who has donated to this humanitarian cause whether in cash or in kind. We thank every indigene and resident of Kwara for staying the course. We assure them that we will definitely come out of this stronger and better together,” the statement added.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/
Spokesman, Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19
April 11, 2020