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COVID-19: Gov Udom announces border closure, suspends flights

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By Theresa Ukpong, Uyo

The Akwa Ibom State Governor,  Udom Emmanuel has finally announced the closure of all borders and suspension of flight operations in the state as part of measures to contain the spread of the killer Coronavirus.

The governor in a terse statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem also ordered that Ibom Air should suspend all flights.

Emmanuel took the decision barely 24 hours after health professionals in the state under the aegis of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) criticized his administration for not doing enough to prevent Covid-19 from entering the state.

He also directed that government employees should stay away from their offices for a period of one week while government monitors the situation.

To assist workers to obey the stay at home order, the governor directed the payment of March salaries to all civil servants under the state employ.

“Salaries of state government workers for the month of March will be paid today, Thursday, March 26, 2020. Workers are advised to prepare to stop going to work and stay at home for one (1 ) week with effect from Monday 30 March, 2020. The stay-at-home order will be strongly enforced. “

“All borders and roads leading in and out of the state are closed with immediate effect; except for the transportation of food items. Ibom Air will suspend all flight operations from Sunday, 29 March, 2020.”

“Markets are to remain open for sale of foodstuff and essential items only. All Churches are strongly requested to fast and pray for God’s mercies on Sunday 29 March, 2020.”

“Residents and citizens are strongly advised to apply all the preventive measures earlier announced. While the one week stay-at-home order subsists, the Akwa Ibom State Government will continue to monitor and provide regular updates on any development in the COVID-19 situation in our state.”

“Although there is no confirmed COVID-19 case in Akwa Ibom State, we abide by the ancient adage that “prevention is better than cure”.

“The Governor also enjoins all residents and citizens; including professional bodies,  to desist from creating unnecessary panic within the state by propagating unverified news, whipping up selfish and myopic sentiments and fanning the embers of discord for pecuniary / or political gains.”

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