Abia State Government has reinstated the ban on public gatherings, and compulsory wearing of face masks in public places as the second wave of COVID-19 takes its toll on Nigeria.
Following this, the state is set to map out a day in the coming days to observe Abia COVID-19 Awareness Day with the purpose of laying emphasis on the pandemic and the need to ensure compliance to the rules and protocols to curtail the spread of the virus.
This will see critical stakeholders and Abians on the streets of the State helping to lay emphasis on the need to observe the COVID-19 protocols.
The Chairman of the State Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 and Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Chris Ezem made the revelation on Thursday, at a meeting with Abia Traditional Rulers Council, religious leaders, security agencies and some select stakeholders in the state at Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia.
The SSG at the meeting said the second wave of COVID-19 cannot be taken for granted as the records from NCDC keeps getting more and more frightening as the days go by, noting that the lives of Abians are more sacred than any other thing and deserves every necessary step taken to protect them.
He further revealed that Abia is returning to status quo with regard to initial measures taken to contain the spread of the virus during the first wave and warned that non compliance could lead to total lockdown.
On his part, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Osuji revealed that the first nine months of the pandemic had Abia Record 1015 positive cases, while it has recorded over 300 cases between January and now, noting that this record calls for serious actions.
The Commissioner, however, restated his call for collective action against the virus.
The State Epidemiologist, Peace Nwogwugwu and former Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Caroline Iwuoha decried the high level of doubt about the reality of the virus among Abians and explained that simple personal hygiene, frequent wearing of facemasks, and social distancing are good preventive measures against the virus.
They revealed that most cases recorded are as a result of ignorance and fear among the people and further called for frequent testing and contact tracing.
The Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, who frowned at the attitude of the people towards observing COVID-19 protocols, applauded security agencies, religious bodies and traditional rulers for their efforts during the first wave and said the second wave requires even more action.
Chief Kalu appealed to religious bodies to ensure compliance through the provision of handwashing materials as well as sanitizers for their members.