Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has directed a total lockdown of the state starting from tomorrow (Wednesday) to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, just as the state recorded three confirmed cases.
He disclosed this in a state-wide broadcast aired on State television and radio late Monday night.
Daily Trust reports that two more COVID-19 cases were confirmed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Monday night, bringing Borno’s total to three.
It would be recalled that the index case earlier confirmed in Borno was that of a 56-year-old nurse and citizen of the state who was brought in from Pulka with features of severe respiratory disease.
He was, until his death, a public health worker with one of the international organizations catering for the Internally Displaced Persons in the insurgency-ravaged state.
Daily Trust had on Sunday exclusively reported how the nurse had died in Maiduguri, having shown suspected symptoms of the Coronavirus.
Governor Zulum said the lockdown would be for an initial period of 14 days, adding that the human and vehicular restrictions exclude “providers of essential services.”
“In the exercise of the powers conferred on me, I have signed an Executive Order, declaring COVID-19 a dangerous disease. For this, I am hereby directing a lockdown that will require cessation of all movements in Borno State for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 10:30pm on Wednesday, 22nd of April, 2020.
“All citizens in Borno State are to stay in their homes. This means all public gatherings are restricted while offices and businesses in Borno State are to be fully closed during this period. Security and intelligence agencies have been briefed for enforcement.
“Government will use this period of restriction to accelerate the tracing and isolation of persons who have been in contact with the index case.
“However, the restriction will not apply to providers of essential services, which the high powered team for prevention and control of COVID-19 in Borno State will make public.
“The high powered team under His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, has been directed to as from tomorrow, Tuesday, commence a daily centralized media briefing at 4pm.
“Location for the daily briefing will be announced by the team for the access of journalists who will be among those to be given permission on essential services.
“The high powered team will on daily basis provide citizens with timely updates and information on access to essential needs such as food, medical services and automated banking services.
“Government will continue to observe developments as we hope to make progresses in concerted efforts to contain spread of the deadly virus.
“Fellow citizens, we are very much aware of the peculiar challenges we face in Borno State. We intend to be very particular about Internally Displaced Persons. We will continue to support them and as time passes, we shall consider social interventions for vulnerable citizens.
“We recognize that the decision to impose restriction will cause difficulties and alter the plans we make differently. We have taken necessary measures with the determination and hope to secure the lives of citizens in Borno State.
“We pray and hope that these measures, amongst other steps we are adopting, will contribute significantly in controlling the spread of coronavirus in Borno State,” Zulum said.
The governor also promised to set up a panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the outbreak and handling of the index case in Borno state.
Meanwhile, the NCDC said that as at 11:10pm, 20th April, there are 665 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria. It stated that 188 had so far recovered, while it puts the total number of deaths from the COVID-19 for the country at 22.
Also, the dreaded novel coronavirus has claimed many people from all walks of life, both young and old, including top African government functionaries who couldn’t survive the pandemic.