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STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR, DR IFEANYI OKOWA, GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE, ON FRIDAY, 26TH JUNE 2020, ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

My Dear Good People of Delta State,

It has become necessary for me to issue this statement in view of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the State. On Thursday, June 25, 2020, Delta State recorded 106 cases, coming only behind Lagos, the epicentre of the pandemic. The latest figure from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) shows that on Friday, June 26, Delta recorded 66 additional cases.

2. This brings the total number of infected persons in the State so far to 781. The local governments mostly affected are Oshimili South (177), Warri South (126), Uvwie (115), Oshimili North (81), Ughelli North (72), Ethiope West (41), and Sapele (30). One hundred and seventy-four persons have been treated and discharged while there are 585 active cases. Sadly, we have lost 22 persons.

3. From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that community transmission in Delta State has reached an alarming – and frightening – proportion. Regrettably, many of our people still think that the coronavirus disease is a hoax. It cannot be a hoax when over twenty persons have died including some prominent citizens.

4. I want to make a passionate appeal to all Deltans to please realise that the coronavirus disease is real. The Government allowed normal business activities to go on in essential sectors of the economy to enable citizens take care of their families. It does not in any way suggest that the danger is over. We made this decision with all sense of responsibility while counting on your partnership with the Government to defeat this virus. Regrettably, it does appear our people have not taken this matter as seriously as they should.

5. Our isolation centres are currently overwhelmed with the number of cases and unless we proactively – and collectively- take drastic actions to reverse the trend, we stand the risk of becoming another epicentre for the pandemic. In the absence of a specific curative drug, the only way to check the transmission of the virus is for all of us to adhere strictly to the NCDC-issued guidelines and safety protocols, which are as follows:

– Stay at home as much as possible. Only go out if it is ESSENTIAL for you to do so.
– If you must go out, please ensure that you maintain about six feet distance from other persons. This is because the virus is transmitted through droplets – either due to coughing, sneezing, or talking – of an infected person.
– Wear face masks once you are outside your home. This will shield you from droplets from a carrier.
– Avoid crowds and large gatherings as much as possible.
– Wash your hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds as often as possible. If this is not readily available, make sure you have a potable alcohol-based hand sanitizer to rub your hands.
– Refrain from touching your face with unwashed hands, especially outside your home.
– Avoid hugs and handshakes.

6. My dear Deltans, this is a clarion call to arms. We must brace up and take responsibility for our collective health and safety NOW! It is very worrisome that many of our people still walk the streets without wearing a face mask or even observing physical/social distancing.
7. Banks, supermarkets, malls, stores, salons, and motorists MUST admit limited persons per time and strictly enforce the physical/social distancing rule. In addition to providing hand wash stations/alcohol-based sanitizers, banks, salons, supermarkets, stores, and malls MUST deny entry to patrons without facemasks. Where there is more than one person, occupants of private vehicles MUST also wear face masks.
8. The number of guests at social events – weddings, funerals, traditional marriages – should not exceed 50 with appropriate physical distance set in place. People without face masks MUST be turned back. I also implore our religious houses to implement all the safety protocols as agreed.

9. Residents in the most affected local governments – Oshimili South, Warri South, Uvwie, Oshimili North, Ughelli North, Ethiope West, and Sapele – are particularly advised to be on red alert.

10. Let me emphasise once again that the coronavirus disease is real, and anybody can contact it. It is neither a rich man’s nor a poor man’s disease. Anybody can be affected. I call on every resident in the State to act responsibly to protect yourself and others. And do not forget to continue praying for God’s merciful intervention to stop this raging pandemic.
11. Together we shall beat this virus.
12. God bless us all.

Office of the Governor
Government House
Asaba
June 2020

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