As part of the efforts by the Plateau State government to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state, Governor Simon Lalong, has shut down all markets in the state and also threatened complete lockdown of the state if citizens do not comply with the preventive measures put in place.
The state governor in a state broadcast to the state, on Tuesday, said they were shut in view of the crowds associated with markets adding that the closure will take effect as from Wednesday.
He narrated that only traders selling food items, pharmaceuticals and cooking gas are to remain open adding that all street trading, street hawking, and begging are prohibited while the popular weekly Sunday markets at Ahmadu Bello Way, Bukuru and environs were banned with immediate effect.
“Social joints, Nightclubs, drinking parlours are to also close effective Wednesday 25th March 2020, while restaurants are advised to prepare take away for their customers to avoid crowding.
Motor parks are to capture and keep data including contacts of all inbound and outbound passengers as well as adhere strictly to social distancing and mass gathering prohibition order as well as hygiene regulations.
The governor also disclosed that all entry points into Plateau State by land and air will be subjected to preliminary tests adding that weekly State Executive Council Meetings are suspended indefinitely while Council will continue to consult and meet through digital means.
He directed security agencies to begin enforcement adding that anyone found violating the orders will be arrested.
He said: “Should the situation continue this way, we shall not hesitate to impose a complete lockdown in order to save the lives of our people. To ensure total compliance, the government has set up a task force on enforcement and monitoring, which will be personally chaired by me to coordinate, evaluate and review developments on the disease in the state. The task force will also give updates to citizens from time to time.”
The governor who expressed satisfaction with the facilities at the three major hospitals in the state-directed the immediate purchase of additional ventilators and other consumables for the three isolation centres.
“In addition to this, the government is setting up additional isolation centres in the Old JUTH, Pankshin and Shendam General Hospitals. While our prayer and determination are not to record any coronavirus disease case in Plateau State, we are not oblivious of the national incidences. This calls for more vigilance, sensitisation and preventive measures,” he said.
He further narrated that the Federal Budget has been slashed by N1.5 trillion naira in line with the reality of the times adding that this comes with consequences for other tiers of government. “Expectedly, revenue accruing to Plateau State from the Federation Account has fallen drastically by over 51 per cent.”
He enjoined citizens of the estate to brace up for the harsh economic realities and be ready to make necessary sacrifices in the coming weeks and months adding that many development projects and programmes will have to be reviewed in accordance to the emerging realities.