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A Special Broadcast on Covid-19 by the Governor of Anambra State, HisExcellency, Chief Willie Obiano

By Emeka Ozumba
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A Special Broadcast on Covid-19 by the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano on Saturday April 18, 2020 to Update Ndi Anambra on Contact Tracing and Progress of the Index Case.

Ndi Anambra ekenem unu.
One week ago, I announced to you that our dear state had recorded an Index-Case of the Covid-19 pandemic that has forced the world to a standstill in the past few months.

I assured you that my Team and I had made the necessary arrangements to give Ndi Anambra a fighting chance against the pandemic. Today, I am delighted to announce that the report reaching me from the Protective Care Center indicates that our Index Case is responding very well to treatment. In fact, the first post treatment result from the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) returned Negative for SARS-CoV 2. However, following the standards which have been rigorously applied by NCDC since the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria, he will go for a second round of test before he can be conclusively declared negative. We shall continue to remember him in our prayers as he fights his way back from this illness.

Update on Contact Tracing:
As I assured in my last broadcast, our medical team has successfully tracked 39 people who had direct contact with the Index Case. Out of this number, 5 are in our Protective Care Center while the rest are quarantined at home. The people in our Protective Care Center are stable and have shown no symptoms of the virus so far. Similarly, the people in Home Quarantine are being closely monitored in strict compliance with the WHO guidelines on Covid-19 containment.

Meanwhile, 6 people out of the 39 contacts have tested negative for Coronavirus. These are people who met directly with the Index Case 14 days ago. Ndi Anambra, this is something to be cheerful about.

Similarly, out of 20 samples tested for the virus from Anambra State so far, only the Index Case returned Positive. The rest are negative. Ndi Anambra, this result gives us enough elbowroom to fight this monster by adhering to the principles of Social Distancing, maintaining a thorough personal hygiene and obeying government directives and policies on the Covid-19 pandemic. I have no doubt that if we keep the rules, we shall be in good position to kick Covid-19 out of our dear state.

Anambra State Covid-19 Law:
I am delighted to announce the Anambra State House of Assembly has successfully passed the Anambra State Covid-19 Law which has been accented to by the Governor.

Flattening the Curve on the Pandemic:
Umu nnem, I want to thank you all for taking the inconvenience created by the Covid-19 pandemic with calm dignity and complying with government directives in the past one week. I wish to assure you that if we raise our level of compliance a little higher for the remaining week of this lock down and ensure that there is no new case of the virus among us, we shall review the continued lock down of our beloved state. So, I urge you to keep your heads up and don’t relax your defence just yet.

Ndi Anambra, experience has shown that the best defence against Covid-19 is eternal vigilance. The virus has a tendency to surprise people who lose concentration; and once it is allowed a room to flourish, it occupies space in full. Ndi Anambra, we cannot afford to lose concentration against Coronavirus. For this reason, we wish to re-strengthen the following measures we have adopted against it -

1. All boundaries with neighbouring states remain closed. Only vehicles conveying essential commodities and supplies are allowed to enter Anambra State after a proper check and confirmation by Security Agents.

2. All inter-city/inter-community movements in the State (e.g Awka-Onitsha, Onitsha-Nnewi, Ozubulu-Ihiala etc) remain suspended. Ndi Anambra are strongly advised to stay where they are until the lock-down is over. For example, those in Awka should remain in Awka, those in Aguleri should remain in Aguleri, people in Nnewi should remain in Nnewi except when the movement is extremely necessary.

3. All motor parks in the State remain closed.
4. Food markets in Anambra State are to open only on Tuesdays and Fridays. Traders and customers in these markets must always maintain the principles of Social Distancing during the transaction process.

5. The wholesale medical drug market (Ndi Ogbo Ogwu) in Onitsha is permitted to open only on Tuesdays and Fridays. Please note that any stores/shops located in the markets not dealing on food items or medical drugs remain closed. The security agents have been directed to ensure a rigorous enforcement.

6. Commercial banks in Anambra State are encouraged to maintain skeletal services especially on market days.

7. All farmers in Anambra State are directed to return to their farms with immediate effect. This is to allow them participate fully in the current planting season. I also wish to urge Ndi Anambra to return to the farms because that is the only way we can fend the impending hunger that Covid-19 has created.

8. Ndi Anambra are encouraged to wear face masks whenever they step out of their homes for any reason, wash their hands regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds each time, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, cough/sneeze into folded elbows and practice Social Distancing at all times.

9. People on essential services e.g. Health workers, journalists, and factory workers producing essential commodities are not affected by this lockdown. Security agents enforcing the lockdown order should take note of this.

10. Ndi Anambra are advised to contact the Anambra State Public Health Emergency Operation Center immediately (PHEOC) once they feel unwell. The PHEOC numbers are 08030953771, 08145434416, 08117567363, 08058967320.

Ensuring our Food Supply after Covid-19:
Ndi Anambra, Covid-19 has forced the world to prioritize its needs. In Anambra State, we are seriously looking at the effect of the pandemic on food supply while it lasts and in the near future. Consequently, we have come up with a short term plan that will ensure that food supply is not adversely affected in the state after Covid-19. To achieve this, we have taken the following steps:

1. Secured 3000 hectares of arable land in the agricultural belt of the state for large scale farming during this planting season. This initiative is expected to take over 2000 youths off the labour market.

2. Ordered the purchase of 7 Tractors to be deployed in the cultivation of the land.

3. Empowering women and youths by providing them with cages for poultry and feedstock for birds.

4. Commenced the distribution of agricultural inputs at subsidized rates to farmers.

Umu nnem, I have no doubt that a strict implementation of this initiative shall give us food security during this pandemic and afterwards.

Covid-19 Prerogative of Mercy:
Fellow citizens, the world is going through an extraordinary time. The moment calls for acts that will renew and restore our faith in our humanity. It is as result of this that I have decided to exercise my Prerogative of Mercy and release 54 prisoners from the four correctional facilities in Anambra State. I hope that this decision will not only bring hope and joy to some families but that it will also help to decongest our correctional facilities.

The Nkpor Incident:
Umu nnem, the clash between a group of youths and some security operatives at Nkpor that resulted in the unfortunate death of one person and injuries to other is extremely regrettable. It is one avoidable incident which we must not permit to happen to us again. The Government of Anambra State will foot the medical bills of the injured as well as underwrite the burial costs of the deceased. However, in the interest of peace in our communities, I wish to appeal to Ndi Anambra to refrain from anything that would lead to a head-on collision with the police. I also appeal to the police to adopt best practices in dealing with the challenges that this difficult moment will most certainly provide. May the soul of the departed young man rest in perfect peace! Amen.

Palliatives for the Youths:
Ndi Anambra, this administration has always prioritized the youths in all our activities. It is on account of this that we have decided to extend a similar gesture we gave to senior citizens above 70 years to Anambra youths this time around. In specific terms, we shall soon be handing out 400 bags of rice per community to each of the 181 communities in Anambra State. The bags of rice shall be distributed to the youths of these communities through the same channels that were used in distributing the ones meant for the senior citizens. It is my fervent hope that this gesture will go a long way in alleviating the pains of Covid-19 on our youths.

Appreciation of Donors and Communal Response to Covid-19:

Ndi Anambra, I am delighted to announce that since my last broadcast, the call for support to our efforts to fight against Covid-19 has attracted more favourable reactions from our people. Donations have poured in from individuals and groups who wish our dear state well. I am particularly impressed that these donations have not only come from the rich and mighty among us but also from the everyday people who struggle to feed their families. That is the spirit of Igwe bu ike (the communal spirit). That is the Spirit of Anambra. As a result of this, our new list of donors is so long that I will not be able to read it now. However, we shall continue to update the list online where everyone can see it. You may visit www.absradiotv.com for details.

Ndi Anambra, I must not fail to acknowledge our brothers and sisters who have taken up the challenge of reaching out to the vulnerable ones in their respective communities. I am daily updated on the enormous relief materials distributed by kind-hearted people in various communities and I say “thank you” to everyone who has done that for our people. The Government alone cannot meet all the expectations of the people in these trying times. Dalunu o! Oga abalu unu o!

Ndi Anambra, in conclusion, it should be clear to us now that we hold the key to our own peace of mind and to our collective survival. God has shown us tremendous mercy. It is up to us now to help ourselves by complying with the directive on lock-down for the remaining week of the exercise by maintaining Social Distancing, washing our hands with soap for 20 seconds, using alcohol-based hand-sanitizers, wearing a face mask whenever we step out of our homes and coughing/sneezing into our folded elbows.

It shall be well with us!
God bless Anambra State
God bless Nigeria
Dalunu
Willie Obiano
Governor