Niger Yet To Record COVID-19 Case As Govt Opens Markets
Despite the increase in cases of COVID-19 within the country, the Niger State Government has resolved to soft-pedal on some of the measures it had taken to curb the spread of the virus.
The curfew declared by the state government has now been relaxed and will be observed from 2:00pm to 10:00pm as against the initial 10:00am to 12:00pm declared earlier.
Secretary to the State Government and Chairman, Niger State Task Force on COVID-19, Ahmed Matane, while briefing journalists at the conference hall of his office also stated that markets in the state earlier shut down will now operate from 8:00am to 2:00pm.
He said Friday prayers and Sunday services will begin to hold from next week, but that the government will ensure strict adherence to social distancing.
According to the SSG, civil servants from level 1 to 12 who were initially asked to stay at home will also resume work from Monday, the 6th of April, 2020.
Matane also disclosed that Governor Abubakar Bello has invoked the Niger State COVID-19 (Preventive, Containment and Emergency) Order 2020 as part of measures to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19 within the Local Area.
The Executive Order according to him is derived from Section 3 of the Restriction of Movement of Persons Law Cap 115, Laws of Niger State, 1989, Section 40 of the Niger State Public Health Law, Cap. 109, Laws of Niger State, 1989 (as amended), Section 2,3 and 8 of the Quarantine Act Cap Q2 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Section 45 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Speaking further, Matane warned that any person who fails to comply with a restriction, prohibition or requirement imposed under the Order shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment in accordance with the extant laws.
Meanwhile, the state government says all entry point to Niger State remains closed except those on essential services and that schools would still remain closed.
On the COVID-19 status of the state, Matane said Niger State is yet to record any confirmed positive case of COVID-19. He however regrets that not much of the residents in the state have been tested.
According to Matane only 3 persons out of the over five million citizens in Niger State have been able to undergo testing for the virus.
“Even the Governor who recently got tested for COVID-19 didn’t find it easy. His sample that was collected had to wait on a very long queue before it was tested.
“The fact that there are only few testing centres across the entire country, really makes it difficult for testing to take place. We are hoping that we would be able to establish a testing centre in the state very soon,” he said.
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