Covid-19: Onitsha chamber of commerce calls for more drastic measures

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The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) has urged the Anambra State Government to mandate the immediate closure of markets where non essential goods are sold for a minimum of 14 days.

The Chamber’s Vice President, Mr Chinedu Nwonu, in a statement on Wednesday, commended the state government for the proactive measures taken to curtail contamination and spread of the COVID-19 in the state.

Nwonu, however, said that the state government should proceed a step further to mandate the closure of major markets such as Auto Spare Parts Markets, Onitsha Main Market, Electronics Markets, Electricals and Building Materials Markets.

“With Anambra State having a high density of an estimated 2,000 persons per square kilometre and Onitsha being the business hub of the South East, it calls for concern.

“Onitsha is where thousands of businessmen and women from Nigeria and beyond congregate daily for transactions. Contamination of this virus is highly probable and its spread shall be uncontrollable.

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“We are not unmindful of the economic implications of such lockdown to the state but only the living transacts businesses,” he said.

Nwonu said that pharmacies, shopping malls, foods, beverages and drug-related markets in Ose, Nkpor, Ogbaru and Bridgehead should be allowed to do skeletal business, while they observe highest level of disease-prevention procedures.

He urged the state’s  Public Health Emergency Operation Center (PHEOC), to mobilise free masks, hand gloves, sanitisers and thermometers to parks and markets in the state.

Nwonu urged Gov. Willie Obiano to inaugurate an enforcement team of about 200 members from diverse backgrounds to ensure total compliance with all its directives so far.

According to him,  the  task force should be divided to work in key segments, towns and local government areas of the state with logistics provided by the state government.

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“Secondly, beyond just presenting the manifest of travelers, travelling should be discouraged in the state for now. Transport companies must comply with the social distancing directives even in vehicles.

“Random checks should henceforth be conducted on all in-bound travelers. Intra-city transport means like Keke and buses who flout the social distancing order should be impounded.

“Factories with many employees must be mandated to ensure high safety and health standards.

“As citizens divert to exercise in the stadia, open fields and closed schools as their interpretation of self-isolation, all contact sports must be prohibited forthwith, “he said.

Nwonu urged residents to adhere strictly to high level of hygiene and other measures as prescribed by the state government and World Health Organization (WHO).

According to him,  prevention has always been far better than cure. (NAN)

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