The Ebonyi State government says it will close the state’s borders on Saturday in a bid to prevent the deadly coronavirus from spreading to the state.
Governor David Umahi announced this on Thursday in Abakaliki, the state capital.
Though there has been an outbreak in Nigeria, with 51 confirmed cases and one death recorded so far, Ebonyi State has not recorded any confirmed case.
The governor said the closing of the border to passengers and commuters from Saturday is to protect residents from contracting the virus from people coming from infected states and areas.
He spoke when he led the state Covid-19 Medical team which he is the Chairman to monitor compliance with the state government’s orders on safety measures to be adopted by essential services centres in the state.
Addressing staff of Native Kitchen Restaurant, Abakaliki, the governor urged them to be watchful and report any suspect with symptoms of the virus like coughing to government
“We are checking for cholera, Lassa Fever, Covid-19. You have to be your neighbour’s keeper by giving us information. This will help us to protect Ebonyi State,” he said.
“From Saturday, no one will be allowed to come in or go out. Only vehicles carrying food stuffs, construction materials and medical supplies will be allowed to come in. Only patients going in or out for treatment will be allowed passage.
Mr Umahi also advised the people on safety measures to boost their immunity against the virus.
“Try to use hot water, stay out of air conditioner. Avoid cold water, serve hot water and drink hot water. Try garlic and lemon, it is very important. Stay safe you are very important to us”, he said.
The governor also visited some major banks in the state including Access, Keystone, FCMB and GTB.
Meanwhile, the state government has warned that any attempt to resist the ban on movement into the state would be severely dealt with by security agencies.
In a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Kenneth Ugbala, the state government said everybody should stay where they are until the virus is contained.
“Ebonyi State Government shall from Saturday 28th March 2020, stop all passenger vehicles from entering the State. There will be restriction of passengers/commuters coming in and out of Ebonyi State.
“The position of Ebonyi State Government is that everybody should stay where he/she is until this unfortunate scourge of coronavirus is over.
“The government would like Ebonyians to inform their family members, visitors, friends and well-wishers to be aware of this directive as there will be no exemption to its enforcement.
“Meanwhile, any attempt to violate this directive will be strongly resisted and defaulters will be arraigned before the COVID-19 Examination Room. All entry/exit points, both land and sea in Ebonyi State shall be barricaded.
“Given the foregoing, only vehicles on special duties such as vehicles carrying foodstuff, drugs, oil, petroleum and gas as well as construction materials shall be exempted from this directive as long as such drivers are not carrying passengers. Only drivers alone will be allowed with such vehicles on essential services”, the statement read.