The Ekiti State Government has declared as mandatory the use of face masks as additional measures to curb the ravaging coronavirus.
It also extended the restriction on movement within the state for another two weeks.
The first two-week order given by the state governor, Kayode Fayemi, on the lockdown was issued on March 30 and expired on Monday.
The new directive will expire on April 27.
The new directive has also designated the use of face masks in public places compulsory, implying that those who would be going out into public arenas must use the protective equipment.
A statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Biodun Oyebanji, on Monday, said the extension became necessary following the progress made and efforts of other neighbouring states in the fight against the virus.
He said the restriction of movement would be suspended for eight hours, (between 6am-2pm) on Thursday, April 16 and Thursday, April 23rd, to allow the people re-stock essential goods.
Mr Oyebanji explained that only people offering essential services and the market for food items were exempted from the restriction, adding that all boundaries would remain closed for the two weeks.
“After careful consideration of available evidence on progress made to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Ekiti State and in recognition of similar efforts by neighbouring states and the Federal Government of Nigeria, the governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has directed the extension of restriction of movement and curfew in Ekiti State for two weeks, until 23:59 Monday, April 27, 2020,” the statement said.
“Restriction of Movement of Persons and Goods. Only exceptions allowed are for the purposes of obtaining food, seeking emergency, life-saving, or chronic medical attention or obtaining social security grant.
“Persons performing essential services will be allowed to move around, particularly health workers, but must be duly designated with an identity card by the Head of their Institutions.”
He declared that the government has made compulsory the use of face masks in public places across the 16 local government areas of the state.
“In compliance with recent findings on causes of the spread of COVID -19, wearing of facemasks in public places will be compulsory from April 14, 2020,” the statement further said.
“Government is finalising arrangements to make facemasks available to persons on essential duties, including foodstuff sellers in markets.”
The government further directed that all businesses and other entities will remain closed.
“Oja Oba and Oja Bisi markets shall remain closed. Except for any business or entity involved in the manufacturing, supply, or provision of an essential good or service. In facilities where essential goods are sold, all directives in respect of hygienic conditions to prevent the exposure of persons to COVID-19 must be adhered to,” the statement said.
“Any gathering in Ekiti State remains prohibited save for gathering in respect of a funeral, which shall be limited to 20 people.
“All boundaries of the State shall remain closed during the period of extension, except for transportation of fuel, and essential goods.
“All commuter transport services including bus services, taxi services, motorbikes (Okada) and tricycle services (Keke NAPEP), are prohibited.
“In compliance with recent findings on causes of the spread of COVID -19, wearing of facemasks in public places will be compulsory from 14th April, 2020. Government is finalizing arrangements to make facemasks available to persons on essential duties, including foodstuff sellers in markets.
“The school–on- air programme for primary and secondary school students will continue during the period. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has been directed to continue to improve on the modalities for ensuring effective delivery of this programme.
“Government is making efforts to set up a COVID 19 test centre in the state. This is one of the major tasks of the Covid-19 Response Resource Mobilisation Committee, recently set up by the government to mobilise funds and manage projects to prevent the spread of this pandemic.
“Government will continue to intensify on going measures specifically in response to the hardship being experienced by people across the state. Government’s strategy is made up of three parts- an intensified public health response to slow down and reduce infections; comprehensive package of economic support measures to assist businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic and a programme of increased social support to protect poor and vulnerable households.”
The state had its index case of the corona virus on the March 18 and had its second case confirmed in the first week of April.
Its index case had since been discharged after undergoing treatment and a repeat test confirmed him negative.
Ekiti’s neighbour, Ondo State, also tightened its restriction measures last week after a second case of the disease was confirmed in the state.
Although the governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, had relaxed measures to allow Christians celebrate the Easter Sunday, the new case jolted the government to cancel the agreement with the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ondo State Chapter and it restored the restrictions.
Both states had also stepped up their enforcements of the restriction order with the arrest of several persons in the process.