BAYELSA State Governor, Douye Diri, has directed intensified screening of persons at the entry points into the state.
The directive followed the spike in COVID-19 cases in the state and the lifting of the ban on inter-state travel.
The governor ordered the COVID-19 task force to strictly enforce the directive and restated the directive on compulsory wearing of facemask in all public places, including markets, banks, motor parks, churches and mosques.
Diri, who gave the directive during the enlarged meeting and briefing of the state’s COVID-19 task force at the Government House, Yenagoa, said the nationwide presidential curfew directive from 10pm to 4am was still in force.
He emphasised that the spike in COVID-19 -related deaths has necessitated the deploying of stringent measures to secure the lives of its citizens from the pandemic.
While highlighting the role of religious leaders in partnering government towards creating awareness about the virus, the governor, lifted the ban on wedding ceremonies but directed that they be held only on Sundays.
He also directed the unsealing of one of the churches that violated the COVID-19 protocols but called on church leaders not to misinterpret government’s intention in the ongoing fight against the virus.
According to him, while the government holds them in high esteem, they must respect the biblical injunction advising them to respect those in authority.
He equally saluted the commitment and dedication of all frontline health personnel in the state in the battle against the pandemic and promised to provide the necessary support and encouragement and directed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health to furnish his office with the necessary documents for the purchase of bio-safety cabinet and other critical medical equipment for the commencement of testing of COVID-19 samples in the state.
“Yenagoa has been declared as COVID-19 high risk area. But the state government will not fold its arms and allow our state capital to be locked down because of coronavirus. So everybody must take responsibility and come to terms that the virus does exist.”
Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Dr Dennis Allagoa, thanked the state government for the tremendous support it has received in the fight against the virus, saying that the equipment donated by the state government to the federal medical institution range from mobile x-ray machines, dialysis machines to ultrasound scan and infusion pumps.
Acting Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as expressing deep concern over the fatality rate of 6.5% the state has recorded so far, which, according to him, is higher than the national average of 2.5%.