*Urges churches to form action committees
By Vincent Ujumadu – Awka
Following the upsurge of coronavirus pandemic in Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano has announced the postponement of resumption of schools in the state by two weeks.
In a statewide broadcast, Governor Obiano said the decision became necessary because the second wave of the pandemic had become more deadly.
The governor also directed churches to form action committees that would control the habits of the people as was done during the first phase of the pandemic.
He said: “This second threat is not only real but even more deadly. It is more deadly because after struggling with the pandemic for nine months, we have dropped our level of vigilance and returned to our normal lives, but the virus has not gone away.
“On the contrary, it has come back with renewed viciousness and it is claiming many lives because our people are not complying with the Covid-19 protocols.
“Our index case of Covid-19 was reported on April 9, 2020, and wee were fully prepared to deal with that emergency. We had erected some of the best Protective Care Centers in Nigeria and our healthcare workers were sufficiently prepared to handle the challenge.
“We managed the pandemic so well that in November last year, Anambra was rated as one of the states with the lowest number of positive results in Nigeria.
“As at December 7, 2020, we had conducted 90,000 tests and only 287 were confirmed positive. As at that date too, Anambra had no new cases of Covid-19.
“We had no patients in our Protective Care Centers and none on home treatment. “Anambra was beginning to breathe freely again.
“We were all enjoying the fruits of our collective efforts – the leaders of the church, traditional rulers, market leaders, school administrators and the general public had made great efforts to obey the standard Covid-19 protocols.
“We were doing just fine until the second wave of the pandemic crept in.
“This second wave of Covid-19 did not take us by surprise. We have been monitoring global trends on the pandemic and we saw it coming.
“We anticipated that the second wave would hit us hard because of our well-known culture of mass return during the Christmas and New Year season.
“So, we made efforts to prepare our people to mitigate the impending challenge. We held wide consultations and town hall meetings with the Igwes, the religious leaders, civil society organizations, leaders of the market task force, transport operators and leaders of various community groups and associations.
“During these meetings, we emphasized the need to revive all the structures that helped us survive the first wave of the pandemic.
“Sadly, it appears that our warnings fell on deaf ears. Our people allowed themselves to be carried away by the joys of the Yuletide Season and failed to maintain the Covid-19 protocols.
“Today, we are faced with a clear and present danger. Between December 7, 2020, and January 11, 2021, we have recorded 110 new cases of Covid-19 in Anambra State. This is not good at all.
“We must do everything within our power to halt the spread. That is why we have revved up our testing capacity and brought the total number of tests done to 13, 412 tests so far.”
The governor explained that his administration had taken a string of hard decisions to stamp out the renewed spread of the pandemic before it gains a serious advantage in the state.
Accordingly, he added that:
*All government offices must observe the standard Covid-19 protocols – washing of hands at the entrance, wearing of facemasks, regular use of hand sanitisers and strict observance of social distancing. *Nobody will be allowed into any government premises without properly wearing a face mask.
*No one should step outside their homes without wearing a facemask.
*The ban on nightclubs is still firmly in place. Hotels are directed to ensure strict compliance to Covid-19 protocols.
*There should not be more than 50 people in any public gathering.
*The Covid-19 action teams in all our 61 markets must ensure full compliance to the standard Covid-19 protocols. They must set up a hand washing point at the entrance to each market, take the temperature of visitors to the markets and ensure that both traders and their customers are wearing their facemasks properly.
*All markets in Anambra State are given one week to set up the necessary safety standards and ensure proper compliance. Any market found violating the standards after one week shall be quickly shut down.
*Transport operators are advised to revert to all the practices that helped us during the first wave of the pandemic. They must ensure social distancing inside the vehicles and maintain a passenger manifest.
*Schools are advised to revive the Covid-19 structure and practices that helped protect our children during the first wave of the pandemic. Schools in Anambra shall not reopen on January 18, 2021, as earlier scheduled.
“Rather, schools will reopen after two weeks from today to enable the principals and teachers to prepare for the return of our children.
*Churches and other religious organizations are advised to set up action teams and go back to the practices that helped us in the first phase of the pandemic.
*We shall align with any policy on a possible nationwide curfew by the Federal Government to ensure effective compliance.
He explained that test centres are active and ready to handle cases with impressive turnaround time, adding that sample collection to all the 21 local government areas in the state had been cascaded.
“We have been here before. We shall overcome it a second time. But we must work together this time.
“Everyone must play their own part well for us to survive. As a government, our key strategy is testing, treating
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