COVID-19: Lagos, Ogun, Ondo States Enforce Social Distancing, Shut Markets

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has ordered the closure of markets and stores in the state with effect from Thursday.

According to him, markets that sell essential commodities such as medical equipment, water, and foodstuff are exempted.

The governor in a press conference on Tuesday said: “It is not a total lockdown, we still want people on essential services to go about their normal activities.

 “Shops in malls that are not selling any of these initially mentioned essential daily needs are all meant to close down from Thursday”. It is not a total lockdown, we still want people on essential services to go about their normal activities.

“We are trying to de-centralise markets in Lagos. This is why we want to use some of our closed schools as markets, so people can buy food and medicine without going a long distance.

“It is only when you are alive that you can talk about economics and finance.”

Also, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Tuesday ordered all markets, malls and shops in Ondo state to shut down for seven days, as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Last week, the state closed all schools and banned political, social and religious gatherings for 14 days.

The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo said only life-saving and sustaining items would be allowed.

The state executive council meeting on March 23 reviewed its social distancing directives to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, said. “Under this fresh directive, which is for a period of seven days in the first instance, only the sale of life-saving and sustaining items like food, water and medicals shall be allowed.”

 “This directive includes courtesy calls and other engagements already approved and scheduled prior to this time; and shall suffice for a period of 14 days in the first instance.

“Similarly, Akeredolu reiterates that the suspension of political gatherings and meetings is still in force.

“The governor seeks the co-operation and understanding of all residents in the state as he works assiduously to keep the state safe from COVID-19,” he said.

Also, the Ogun state government has restricted external movement and visits to the State Government Secretariat and Governor’s Office in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital on daily basis.

It directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies of state government as well as 20 Local Governments to draw up rosters that would ensure that 20% of staff across all cadres work daily, thus ensuring that most staff come to work once a week, just as teachers in public primary and secondary schools are to proceed on vacation immediately.

There is however an exception of health workers, fire service and State emergency management authority (OGSEMA).

Governor Dapo Abiodun during a press briefing on Monday said that decisions were taken after daily review of developments, saying that government had lowered the threshold of people who may gather in one place at a time from 50 to 20.

The governor who spoke his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin said, “For open markets, the leadership is also enjoined to work with the State Task Force and their Local Government counterparts are to ensure that the social distancing of five feet is maintained as well as maximum of 20 persons density in the markets.

“In addition, market leaders are directed to draw up rosters of various market or product groups to open and sell their wares in rotation whilst this order lasts.

“All Taxi cabs are directed to carry not more than THREE passengers at once; with a maximum of two at the back. Tricycles are to carry a maximum of TWO passengers at the same time. Motorcycles (popularly called Okada) are limited to ONE passenger and the rider must use nose mask

“Buses are limited to TWO persons per row while standing, squatting, lapping or hanging are not allowed at all. All unions at all intra/interstate motor parks in the state are to ensure that temperature of drivers, conductors and passengers is taken and those above the threshold are not allowed to drive or travel.

“Drivers and conductors are to wear hand gloves and nose masks through the duration of trips. These measures apply to all vehicles, irrespective of the ownership or use (commercial, private or company).  Indeed, it is advisable that windows of vehicles are wound down to allow free air circulation, when in use, with minimal use of air-conditioners, unless where it becomes absolutely inevitable.

“In furtherance of the State’s measures to combat the virus, the government has directed all the Local Government Chairmen to identify suitable facilities such as event / social centres, school halls, community halls, in their respective areas that could be easily prepared and deployed as COVID-19 treatment facilities in the unlikely event of a surge in the corona virus cases in the State.

“The attention of the government has been drawn to the fact that that some religious organizations conduct service on Friday and Sunday. This is unacceptable.”

Peace Obi

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