Following the confirmation of five suspected cases of the novel coronavirus in Akwa Ibom State, Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, has announced a total cessation of movements and prohibition of all events of any nature for 14 days in the state.

This is sequel to the confirmation of five cases of coronavirus disease in the state by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Wednesday which were initially rejected by the state government.

But in a state-wide broadcast on Thursday evening, the governor said the confirmed cases, most whom health workers, had been moved to an isolation centre while efforts were being made at tracing to identify those who might have been exposed to the five confirmed victims.

“There will be no movement of persons, except those on essential duties who must carry a proper means of identification on them at all times.

“All business premises, markets, shops, motor parks and offices except grocery shops and pharmacies must remain closed during this period.

Governor Emmanuel insisted that the relevant security agencies had been briefed to ensure strict compliance with the directive.

Although he admitted that no nation was 100% ready for COVID-19, he, however, assured that the disease had not met the state unprepared.

“Just two days ago, I inspected facilities at one of the isolation centres we have prepared for possible cases such as this. This is in addition to the already existing one in Ikot Ekpene, and I can assure you that other facilities are being prepared for similar use should the need for it arise.”

He warned against panic and fear and enjoined the cooperation of all rather than resort to blame games.

“What we need to do is to stay at home, practise social distancing and good personal hygiene, provide accurate and useful information to health workers whenever necessary.”

He said the virus can be contained if movements were restricted and advised anyone experiencing any of the symptoms of the illness or who has useful information on potential carriers, to immediately call the available emergency numbers.

While admitting that the total lockdown decision was a very tough one, the governor, however, said it was the most logical step to be taken and assured that God will rescue the state from the evil plague.

“I can promise you that we will leave no stone unturned in the fight against this pandemic. We may have been bruised, but we will not be broken. While hoping for the best, we will prepare for the worst, but be rest assured that whatever that worst may be, it will not break us.”

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