Lockdown: Gombe reverses order, allows reopening of religious centres, civil servants to resume Monday

Following persistent calls for the government to re-open worship centres for congregational prayers, Gombe State government held consultative meetings with religious leaders and heads of security agencies in the state to review the restriction order on religious and social activities as a measure to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

While making the announcement in a statewide broadcast on Friday, State Governor, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya states that “While majority supported the call, some cautiously approved of it. It is against this backdrop that Government has resolved to gradually ease the restrictions in our dear state by re-opening places of worship but with strict adherence and compliance to the following guidelines.”
While relaxing the restriction order takes immediate effect, there must be strict observance of social distancing; compulsory wearing of face masks; regular handwashing with soap and water and limiting the number of persons in each congregation to not more than 20-50 persons depending on the size of the worship centre.
The Gombe  Governor added, “Similarly, we are also adjusting the curfew time to be from 8 pm to 6 am daily with effect from today. Also, civil servants on Grade level 9 and above are hereby directed to resume work with effect from Monday 25th May 2020 while strictly observing the new guidelines in their places of work. However, all other existing measures to curb the spread of the virus especially the ban of commercial motorcycles, interstate travels, closure of all schools and borders shall remain in effect.”
Inuwa Yahaya then called on the entire people of Gombe State to adhere strictly to these new guidelines and take responsibility for containing the spread of the Corona Virus in the state, both as individuals or as groups, “While we will continue to monitor and ensure that there is no community transmission, we would however not hesitate to revert to the previous order or to take more drastic measures should the need arise”, he added.
On the medical front, the Governor pointed out that, “our case management strategy is yielding encouraging results. So far, a total of 1,272 samples were collected and sent for testing out of which 124 turned out positive and were all isolated and managed according to the guidelines issued by the NCDC.”
He added that “87 of the confirmed cases have so far fully recovered and were discharged with only 1 death recorded in the state. Currently, there are 36 active cases in our state. As evidenced by these statistics, Gombe State is recognised by the NCDC as one of the states in the country that is effectively and efficiently managing this pandemic in accordance with international best practices.”
Inuwa Yahaya, however, lamented That, “notwithstanding, some of the patients took to the streets protesting poor management at the isolation centres. While we intervened and improved on our case management strategies, we are aware of the deliberate attempt of some mischievous elements to politicize the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. However, we shall remain focused and would never be distracted by the actions or activities of an unguided few in our effort to protect the lives of the generality of our people.”
He explained that As global projection shows, the coronavirus pandemic might linger on for some time from now, therefore, “our strategy must be dynamic and sustainable in line with the recommended protocols in order to be able to effectively manage the pandemic.”
“At the same time, we shall continue to keep in mind the economic and social impact of enforced restrictions on the health and well-being of our people. In this regards, we shall embark on the distribution of our palliative package which is targeting to reach 30 most vulnerable households in all the 2,218  polling units across the entire state which translates to about 66,000 households or 400,000 individuals,” the Governor added.
Gombe  Governor Inuwa stated further that, “As a concerned government, we opted for mild restrictive measures being fully mindful of the consequences a total lockdown would have caused on the economic and social life of our people who are mostly farmers that depend on the raining season which has already set in for their major pre-occupation”.
Inuwa Yahaya added that “In addition to making available adequate isolation, treatment and quarantine facilities, other mitigation measures are taken included the closure of our border entry points and schools, ban on all social, religious and cultural gatherings, stay at home order for civil servants below grade level 12, suspending the activities of commercial motorcycles and the imposition of an overnight curfew throughout the state”.
Inuwa then appreciated Corporate Organizations, Institutions and Individuals who identified with the state during the difficult period by contributing in cash or kind to enable the government to sustain the fight against the dreaded disease.
He Equally, appreciated the incredible work of the state Taskforce on COVID-19, all frontline health workers and other stakeholders for their commitment and dedication in the collective struggle against the pandemic.
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