Kwara locks down Offa to contain COVID-19

Kwara State government has ordered a total lockdown of the ancient town of Offa in the Offa local government area of the state.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin on Wednesday evening, the state deputy governor, who is also the chairman of the technical committee on COVID-19 in the state, Mr Kayode Alabi, said that the development was aimed to contain community transmission of the pandemic.

Tribune Online recalls that a suspected coronavirus patient reportedly died in the UITH last Thursday, while his wife also tested positive, just as another person had tested positive to the pandemic.

The text of the statement reads: “Following the confirmation of two cases of COVID-19 in Offa, the government is compelled to effect a total shutdown of the ancient town to contain community transmission and save people’s lives. This shutdown will become effective at 6 pm local time on Wednesday, April 8th.

“This directive is pursuant to the Kwara State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulation 2020.

“The shutdown means a total restriction on every vehicular movement into or from Offa. The exceptions to this directive are those contained in the recent address of Mr President which granted access to vehicles transporting foodstuffs, poultry and pharmaceutical products. Any other movement, private or commercial is hereby banned for the next 14 days or until such a time the government is satisfied that our people are no longer at risk of mass infections arising from the two cases that have been traced to the town.

“Any violators are liable to punishments outlined in the Kwara State Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulation 2020. Various security agencies, including the police and the Nigerian Navy, have been drafted to enforce this directive while His Royal Highness the Olofa of Offa has been fully briefed.

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“We urge our people to please bear with us in this tough period. The human community is certain to come out of this pandemic stronger and better. The government calls for a timely report of any suspicious case of COVID-19. Anyone with travel history to frontline states, the America or European countries and others in the last three weeks should please contact the Kwara State Technical Committee for relevant advisory.

“Arrangements have been made to distribute palliatives to the poorest of the poor to assist them in this trying time. This will happen before the week runs out. The categories of the people to receive the palliatives are strictly the aged, the physically challenged, widows/widowers, poor artisans, and any other needy group that the ward-based committee on palliatives deem qualified for the foodstuffs. These committees comprise traditional rulers, religious leaders and local Community-Based Organisations whose duty is to monitor the exercise. We want to clarify that this palliative cannot go round. It is targeted strictly at the poorest of the poor in the belief that they are the most affected at this time.

“We pray for all of those infected to get well soon. We assure them of getting the best care possible. Rest assured that you have committed no crime. To all our healthcare specialists, we are grateful to you. We cannot thank you enough. Kwara people are grateful to you and would always have your back now and always.

“Finally, Kwarans, this is no time to panic. Please stay calm. The government will do everything to keep you safe. But we also need you to play your own role. Stay at home. Keep social distancing. Avoid the crowd. Prioritise personal hygiene. And please do not spread unverified news. Claims that one of the two suspected COVID-19 cases has died is FALSE. They both remain stable and asymptomatic at this time.”

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