The Ondo State Government on Wednesday said it had cancelled the cross-over services in churches across the state, between December 31 and January 1, as part of efforts to curb the spread of second wave of COVID-19.
The government also postponed the resumption of pupils in primary and secondary schools from Monday, January 4, 2021, to January 18, 2021.
The Chairman, Ondo State Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, said this in Akure, the state capital.
According to him, the committee had extensive interaction with various stakeholders on the need to take proactive measures against the second wave of COVID-19.
Fatusi said: “No church service organised in respect of the New Year celebration must exceed 10pm in line with the Federal Government directive on curfew.
“The government and business offices shall continue to open, with strict compliance of COVID-19 precautionary measures; no primary or secondary school in the state shall resume until 18th of January, 2021, markets shall continue operations but with heightened enforcement of COVID-19 precautionary measures.
“Night clubs and relaxation spots must not operate beyond 10pm; picnics can operate but in open space and adherence to COVID-19 protocols; while anybody above 60 years of age or with existing ailment(s) are strongly advised to remain indoors.”
Fatusi, who is also the Vice Chancellor, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, said the government would enforce compliance to all the guidelines.
Abiodun restricts attendance to cross-over service
In the same vein, the Ogun State Government on Wednesday announced the suspension of street carnivals, and restricted attendance to cross-over services, parties and similar gatherings.
Governor Dapo Abiodun also directed all civil servants and other government workers to proceed on Christmas and New Year holiday from Thursday, December 24 till January 4, 2021
These were contained in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Kunle Somorin.
The directives were issued on Wednesday after a meeting between the state government and religious leaders, as well as community leaders.
The statement reads partly, “The governor directed that all schools in the state are to remain closed until January 18, 2021, while all bars, nightclubs, pubs and event centres, recreational centres in the state have also been closed down indefinitely.
“The governor further directed that the all markets are to open strictly between 8am and 4pm while maintaining social distancing.
“Governor Abiodun further directed that religious and worship centres should not exceed 50 per cent of their capacity. All services must also be in compliance with all COVID-19 protocols.
“In order to stem, the spread of the second wave of the disease, Abiodun advised that there should be no gatherings of more than 50 people at any event or ceremonies, such as conferences, congresses, office events, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, cross-over nights, end of year parties, weddings, naming, birthdays, anniversaries, street carnivals until further notice.”
Kwara imposes partial lockdown
Also, the Kwara State Government on Wednesday imposed another lockdown on the state from 12 midnight to 4.30am.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Raji Rasaq, who also doubles as the vice chairman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19, said, “There shall be partial state-wide lockdown between 12 am and 4.30am until further notice.
“These new guidelines take effect from Thursday, December 24, 2020.”
Other measures announced by the committee included mandatory use of face mask in public places, while concerts, carnivals, clubbing were banned until further notice.
He added, “Worship centres are not to allow congregations exceeding 50 per cent of the maximum capacity of the venue to allow for physical distancing.
“Civil servants are to work from their homes. The only exemptions are essential workers, especially in the health sector. Virtual meetings are encouraged.”
FCT shuts bars, parks, for five weeks, restricts churches, weddings
Similarly, the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, has ordered that all bars, restaurants, leisure gardens, and event centres should be shut for five weeks.
He also directed that informal and formal festivity events, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, and end of year events were restricted to not more than 50 persons.
Rising from an emergency COVID-19 meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, the minister equally directed that churches and mosques should not have more than 50 per cent worshippers, noting that social distancing and mandatory use of face masks and hand hygiene was to be strictly enforced.
“Enforcement teams have been mandated to carry out the arrest of violators and prosecute them through the mobile courts’ system,” Bello stated.
This was contained in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the minister, Anthony Ogunleye, titled, ‘FCTA issues new guidelines on controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the territory.’
The Minister said employees of the FCT Administration and the six Area Councils on Grade Level 12 and below were to work from home for the next five weeks, adding that heads of the various Secretariats, Departments and Agencies are responsible for compliance.
The Administration also directed all schools in the FCT to remain on vacation until January 18, 2021.
‘We won’t lock down Plateau’
In a related development, the Plateau State Government on Wednesday said there was no plan to lock down the state over the second wave of COVID-19.
The government stated this in Jos during a meeting with stakeholders, including local government chairmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders, community leaders and health experts.
A statement by the Director of Press and Public Affairs, Macham Makut, said the meeting, which was convened by the Governor Simon Lalong, was, however, presided over by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Danladi Atu, who is also the coordinator of the state Taskforce on COVID-19
Atu said the meeting adopted some measures on COVID-19, including that all public gatherings, such as places of worship, should cut down attendance to 50 per cent of their capacity.
He said: “The meeting also banned all cultural festivals in the state, while the use face masks should be enforced in all public places. Social distancing, hand washing and other protocols must also be adhered to.
The Secretary to the State Government said security reports available to the government indicated that criminal elements are planning attacks on some communities during the yuletide season.
Atu said, “The state government is working with security agencies to be more proactive rather than reactive.”
Ekiti imposes new restrictions
Also, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, on Wednesday announced new restrictions to curb the second wave of COVID-19 in the state.
Fayemi, in a state-wide broadcast on Wednesday, said, “Government is very disturbed with the rising figure and its implications on our fragile health facilities and economic wellbeing.”
Although he acknowledged the importance of the Yuletide season in Nigerians’ religious life, he said, “We, however, must prioritise public health above other considerations; therefore, we expect churches to observe the service in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
These, he said, included hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, observation of the approved social distance and to allow only half of the sitting capacity of the church to partake in the service.
According to him, strict instructions had been given to the taskforce and law enforcement agents to begin aggressive compliance enforcement activities in public places, including worship centres, event centres, markets, supermarkets, bars and hotels.
“I have directed that all schools should remain closed till January 18; and I have also directed that civil servants on grade level 12 and below, should in the meantime, stay at home till January 18 when they would be directed on when they could resume,” Fayemi added.
Edo reintroduces curfews, shut schools
In the same vein, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, in a broadcast on Wednesday, announced the reintroduction of restrictions and reactivation of disease surveillance and management protocols to curb the second wave of COVID-19.
Obaseki noted that in line with the Federal Government directive, the state had adjusted its curfew to begin from 12 midnight to 4am daily, beginning from December 23, except on December 31, 2020
According to the governor, all schools in the state will remain shut until January 18, 2021.
He said, “Wearing of facemask is mandatory in public places; there should be drastic reduction in number of people attending religious, political and social gatherings in one place; people are advised not to patronise or enter any public facility without hand wash station, provided with soap and running water.”