A cross section of Port Harcourt residents on Thursday expressed worries over the first case of coronavirus pandemic in Rivers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Rivers recorded its first case of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
The develpoment was at the heels of the state government’s closure of its borders with other states and restriction of movements within the state.
Some residents told NAN in Port Harcourt that the news had led to panic buying and hiking of prices of food stuffs and other essential items by the dealers.
“After the news broke in the night, I went to Mile One and Mile Three markets this morning, but could not buy much food items,” Mrs Ogochukwu Offor, a bank staff said.
“I think the current increase in price of food items may have been caused by fear and panic which resulted in some shop owners staying home,” she added.
Mrs Ijeoma Ebite, a beautician, said she could not purchase many of the items she needed at home due to the large crowds at Next and Spar shopping malls in the city.
According to her, coronavirus pandemic has made life difficult for residents due to closure of businesses in the state.
“Some people who had premonition of the virus entering Port Harcourt had already stocked their homes with food stuff and other items.
“Currently, most shops have been shut by their owners for fear of contracting the virus. I blame myself for not shopping early,” she said.
A shop owner, Paulinus Amadi, said he closed his shop due to low patronage that he experienced since the country started recording new infections.
According to him, the reported increase in number of infected person in the country has led to the streets being deserted.
“Money is very important but life is more important. I also decided to stay home because I don’t want to put my family at risk,” Amadi explained.
Dr Frank Wodi, a grade level 14 officer in the state civil service, said government had not done enough to halt the spread of the disease.
“Now, COVID-19 has entered Rivers State and I am certain that the number of cases will increase in no distant time.
Another respondent, Franklin Opara, an entrepreneur, called on both federal and state governments to urgently build isolation centres and procure test kits to mitigate the spread of the virus.
– March 27, 2020 @ 18:50 GMT