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Akwa Ibom bows to pressure, shuts land borders, suspends flight operations


Akwa Ibom bows to pressure, shuts land borders, suspends flight operations

Akwa Ibom State government, on Thursday, bowed to pressure from Healthcare Professionals and directed that all its land borders and roads leading to and out of the state be closed with immediate effect.

It also mandated it’s, Ibom Air, to suspend all flights operations beginning from Sunday 29, March 2020 and advised all public servants to stop going to work for a week.

The state chapters of Healthcare Professionals comprising the Nigeria Medical Association, the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and others had on Tuesday advised the state government to effect a lockdown to curtail the spread of the disease to the state.

“We’re shocked that while passengers travelling through the Victor Attah’s International Airport are being subjected to screening, no screening of any kind is being conducted by at our land and sea borders with Cross Rivers, Rivers, Abia, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea where the majority of the travellers pass to Akwa Ibom State” the bodies have observed

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A statement by the Secretary to the state government, Dr.Emmanuel Ekwuwem, which conveyed the closure of the borders, however, said only transportation of food items would be allowed in.

The statement reads in part:” Following critical analysis of the situation relating to COVID-19, I have sent directed to make the following announcements, Workers are advised to prepare to stop going to work and stay at home for one 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 the 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”

The statement said though no case of Coronavirus has been confirmed in the state, residents and citizens are advised to apply all the preventive measures to curtail the spread of the disease to the state.

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The statement also enjoined all residents and citizens; including professional bodies, to desists 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”