…..Says Wearing Face Masks In Public Now Mandatory
Following the expiration of the earlier directive, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Monday extended the stay-at-home order on citizens in the state by one week.
Senator Diri also made mandatory the wearing of face masks in public in compliance with the presidential directive and that violators risk prosecution.
The governor gave the fresh directive during a meeting of the state’s COVID-19 taskforce and other top government officials in Government House, Yenagoa.
His Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as saying that the state had adopted the imposition of the nationwide curfew from 8pm to 6am effective from May 4 as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governor equally directed the state-owned International Institute of Hospitality and Tourism to work out the modalities to produce large quantities of face mask to be distributed to members of the public as part of efforts to check further spread of the virus in the state.
His words: “On the compulsory use of face mask directive countrywide, we must all now put on face mask for our own health and safety. We have the option of a cloth face mask or the surgical mask.”
He further stated that the inter-state borders and maritime domain of Bayelsa would remain locked down for 24 hours while intra-city and intra-state movement would still be allowed but people must observe all the precautionary measures.
Other directives include the exemption of foodstuff markets, supermarkets, petrol and gas stations, pharmaceuticals as well as vehicles conveying foodstuff and other essential items from the order.
All social gatherings, including weddings and funerals, however, remained restricted.
On worship centres, the governor directed that churches and mosques with large congregation would be allowed not more than 50 worshippers while 20 is permitted for smaller ones.
He however admonished religious leaders to comply with the directives on the COVID-19 pandemic as the full weight of the law would be brought on defaulters to serve as a deterrent to others.
“Let me caution that if we are not using the instruments of coercion, it does not mean that we cannot enforce the rules. But what we are doing is for our safety. So do not provoke security and health personnel and all other government officials whose responsibility it is to enforce the Executive Order signed by the president and governor for the safety and health of our state.”
Diri also warned that people would not be allowed to sneak into the state anymore in the guise of accompanying vehicles conveying foodstuff and medical supplies.
While urging the taskforce to supervise the activities of traders in all the markets, the governor allowed daily transaction of business provided they stay off the roadside and ensure social distancing and use of hand sanitizers.
On the issue of donations, he advised the presidential taskforce to relate with the governors and make their financial donations only to the state’s COVID-19 team in line with their peculiar needs.
Briefing the meeting, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodu Apoku, said the state’s index case and her family members were doing well and would be discharged soon.