COVID-19: Community leader urges cooperation to contain spread of virus


AS all markets in Anambra State are set to be shut down tomorrow for 14 days in a desperate bid to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, all Anambra people have been enjoined to continue to cooperate with the state administration so that the state will remain the safest place in West Africa.

“It is in the interest of each and every one of us that we cooperate maximally with the authorities by closing down all markets, big and small, stay at home, maintain social distancing of one metre, wash our hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, keep off handrails and stop touching our faces,” the President General of the Ihiala Progress Union (IPU), Okey Chukwu, said in a statement in Awka today.

“With over 650,000 persons already infected with the Coronavirus across the globe and with over 30,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, it is something of a miracle that no person from Anambra State has tested positive for COVID-19. Not even when states like Enugu, Benue and Rivers have recorded positive results.

“Yet, our people are the most travelled in Nigeria and have the biggest open markets in West Africa, which are always overcrowded with people from various countries.

“Most people thought Anambra State would be the first place or the second to report an index case of COVID-19.

“In fact, they predicted that by now the whole state would have become an Armageddon, totally devastated by the outbreak of the virus on a grand scale, as in Italy, Spain and New York,” he said.

Chukwu, a banker and former chairman of the Enugu Sports Club, attributed the absence of the coronavirus in the state to what he called Governor Willie’s Obiano’s foresight and proactive style.

“Two weeks after the viral outbreak in Wuhan, China, last December,” Chukwu recalled, “Governor Obiano directed the Ministry of Information and Public Enlightenment to issue a travel advisory to our people to avoid China as much as possible and to watch out for people who sneeze or with runny nose and high temperature in Asian and European countries”.

He also directed in the middle of January the Ministry of Health to get the state in the mode to fight both COVID-19 and Lassa fever, which were then becoming an epidemic in Nigeria, according to the community leader.

Chukwu stated that Governor Obiano followed up the action by directing all members of the Anambra State Executive Council to visit places with high human traffic like the 63 major markets in the state as well as markets and hotels and engage their leaders on how to cope with the viral outbreaks of COVID-19 and Lassa fever.

“It is this foresight and the proactive leadership style that has resulted in Anambra being free of the Coronavirus thus far,” he said.

Chukwu advised the people to continue to work “in close unity with the government so that Anambra will retain its impressive record in the fight against COVID-19 and Lassa fever and remain Nigeria’s safest state”.

– Mar. 30, 2020 @ 11:55 GMT |

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