The Kogi State Governor, His Excellency, Alh. Yahaya Bello has issued some directives to guide the response of Government and citizens to the stark realities of the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement released Wednesday in Lokoja, the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo urged the citizens to strictly comply with all the guidelines so as to curtail the spread of the pandemic in the state.
He said; "All entry points into Kogi State (land and waterways) are now closed. Entry and transit by any vehicle is subject to successful health check of all passengers. To prevent avoidable delays, which may extend to preventive quarantining, persons with any disease condition which mimics CORVID-19 symptoms, including elevated temperatures, should have a medical report from a reputable hospital/medical practitioner explaining their condition before venturing through the state."
"Directive shutting all educational institutions in the state, both public and private, from Monday, March 23, 2,020 remains in effect until further notice," he added.
"Civil servants on Grade Level 1-13, except those on specified essential services (medical personnel, revenue officers, law enforcement) are to remain at home and away from work till advised otherwise.
"All social, cultural and religious activities are hereby suspended and essential activities must not have a crowd beyond 5 persons. We solicit everyone's prayers from the safety of their homes.
"Tricycle (keke) operators may carry only one (1) passenger at a time and must provide hand sanitizers for use by their passengers. Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested.
"Regular 4-wheeled taxis may carry only three (3) passengers at a time (1 in front and 2 behind) and must provide hand sanitizers for use by their passengers. Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested.
"Buses may carry only two (2) passengers per row of seats, subject to a maximum of 10 passengers per trip for any type of bus. Relevant officials are empowered to stop and enforce compliance. Defaulters will be arrested.
"All public areas, pubs, bars and restaurants are limited to 5 customers at a time, seated apart in line with the social distancing guidelines. Operators and customers are advised to utilise delivery and takeaway options more during this period.
"All transport companies, transport unions and terminal operators must keep a travel manifest for inbound and outbound passengers, especially verified phone numbers. They must also provide hand-wash stands with soap in the garages and hand sanitizers in the buses. Passengers are required to cooperate by washing their hands with soap and water and sanitize them before boarding. They are to be denied boarding if they fail to comply with the hygiene procedures.
"All corporate premises and large businesses in the state must keep visitors registers as well as take the temperature checks of guests and visitors using a non-contact infra-red thermometer. Any guest with high temperature above 38 degrees Celsius must be reported immediately.
"Willful breach of these guidelines, the unjustified inflation of prices of any essential commodity and the making or spreading of fake news or hate speech during this period of trial will be regarded as sabotage and punished accordingly.
"Commercial motorcycle operators are to suspend their operations with effect from Thursday 26th Mach, 2020. Strict compliance is mandatory. With this, we will be able to ensure compliance with the social distancing procedures as well as discourage people from coming to the public space indiscriminately.
"Members of the public are to report suspected cases of COVID-19 to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) via the given hotlines or to the Kogi State Emergency Centre at the numbers below:
07088292249, 08150953486, 08095227003 or 07043402122.
"The Kogi State COVID-19 Squadron Committee inaugurated on Monday will enforce compliance to these preventive measures using various task-forces and people are encouraged to avoid falling victim to the law by voluntary compliance.
"His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State regrets every inconvenience which these life-saving measures will occasion our people and those who have to travel through our territory now but declares that they are reasonably necessary to keep our dear State COVID-19 free and our people alive and well through this pandemic."
"Remember, COVID-19 is real. STAY AT HOME and if you must venture out, observe social distancing protocols as advised by the appropriate authorities, " he said.