My Dear Good People of Rivers State,
It gives me pleasure to address you, once again, on the state of our struggle against the transmission of COVID-19 in Rivers State.
- As at yesterday, 26th April 2020, Rivers State had 6 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2 fully recovered and discharged, 2 confirmed deaths, while 2 are active and presently receiving treatment in our isolation and treatment centre at Nchia General Hospital, Eleme.
- The recent positive cases, in spite of the strategic measures we have put in place, are clear evidence of gradual increase in transmission of the virus, which has happened as a result of the actions of those who either chose to breach or sabotage our directives on lockdown and social distancing.
- We consider the emerging trend as not only serious and risky, but also, one that compels us to step-up our strategies and prevent a spike in the transmission of the coronavirus in our State.
- It is important to re-emphasize that, in the absence of any vaccine, the directives and restrictions we have imposed remain the only viable way to contend with the scourge, stop its spread and save the lives of our people.
- While we are truly concerned with the economic consequences and the resultant suffering on our people, especially the vulnerable ones among us, we are more worried about the irreplaceable lives that we have lost and could still loose on account of this pandemic.
- For this reason, we should all be prepared to go through more stringent measures, including a possible total statewide lockdown, if the situation so compels, in the days and weeks ahead.
- However, we may not get to this drastic point if we exercise more patience and strictly obey and observe all established measures, including the rules, behavioural protocols and restrictions on lockdowns and social distancing.
- It is therefore irresponsible for any person, group of persons, corporate entity or institution to endanger the lives of other people by flouting the existing closure of our borders and the ban on business activities and large social gathering.
- Consequently, in view of the non or passive compliance with these measures, it has become compelling to also place the following parts of Port Harcourt and Obio/AkporLocal Government Areas on 24 hours complete lockdown, beginning from Tuesday 28 April 2020, till further notice:
(i) Elekahia, including the entire stretch of Rumukalagbor-Elekahia link road;
(ii) Rumuomasi, including Stadium road; and
(iv) All residents in these areas must stay at home. All shops, mini-markets, offices and business outfits in these areas must also cease to operate until further notice.
(v) Landlords in these areas must take personal responsibility to enforce this lockdown as we will not hesitate to pull down any commercial building or structure that opens to business in violation of this specific directive.
- We are also watching the conduct of residents and traders in Rumuokoro, Rumuokurusi and Oyigbo who are refusing to adhere to the Government's ban and restrictions on business and social gathering in the State.
- We appeal to the leaders of these communities to enforce the established restrictions or risk the imposition of a total lockdown on their communities.
- Furthermore, we can no longer tolerate the situation where security personnel allow people to leave or enter the State in spite of the closure of our boundaries with other States.
- These unscrupulous security officers are deliberately putting our State and the lives of our people at risk as our health system can hardly cope, should there be a surge in COVID-19 cases.
- To contain this threat therefore, we will be inaugurating the State's Taskforce on Border Closure on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 to effectively monitor our boundaries and ensure that no unauthorized person and or vehicle leaves or enters our State under any guise in breach of the lockdown order.
- We have also directed the Commissioner of Social Welfare to round-up and deport all vagrants, including the almajiris, to their States of origin to protect our people from the threat they present to the transmission of this pandemic.
- We have also widened our case finding and containment strategy by moving from targeted testing to active sentinel search for cases with acute symptoms across various public and private facilities and subject them to immediate testing, isolation and treatment.
- With these measures, and ceaseless supplications to God, we are confident to win the battle against COVID-19 in our State.
- We commend our healthcare workers for their efforts and personal sacrifice in these trying times and pray to God to reward all of you richly.
- While we will step-up our efforts to deliver more palliatives to the vulnerable ones among us, we urge all residents to simply comply with the established directives and protocols on the lockdown and social distancing and save our State from the COVID-19 scourge.
21. Thank you and God bless you all.