Ahead of the Christmas celebration, any gathering of more than 100 people has been banned in Imo by the state Governor, Hope Uzodinma.
The governor also ordered workers in the state to stay home from Monday, December 21 until further notice.
In a state-wide broadcast at the weekend, Uzodinma said the order was given because of the expected influx of people into the state during the festive period, which could lead to a further surge in COVID-19 cases in the state if no measure was put in place to curtail it..
“My dear good people of Imo State, it is with a great sense of responsibility that I address you on this auspicious season of Christmas. In normal times, with just a few days to Christmas, I should be saying a very happy Christmas in advance to you. But the times are far from normal. The dreaded Coronavirus pandemic otherwise known as COVID-19 is back in town at full speed.
“Since October the number of cases in the country, which hitherto seemed to be reducing, has been on a rapid rise. From 225 confirmed new cases in October, the number has risen to a frightful level of 77,933 in December. Yesterday,19th December alone 920 new confirmed cases were recorded in the country, with 6 deaths.
“In Imo State the situation is no less frightening. Recent PCR-Based tests carried out in the state in accordance with the guidelines of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), reveal a frightful upward surge in the confirmed cases curve. As of last week, no less than 32 persons were confirmed positive with COVID-19.
“Sadly, while the grim realities of increasing COVID-19 infections continue to confront us every day, a general complacency and false sense of safety amongst our people to COVID-19 safety protocols remain the order of the day.
“This trend must be reversed in the interest of everyone. The time to do so is NOW. The imminent danger posed by the human traffic surge occasioned by the season, makes immediate and drastic steps in this direction both cogent and urgent.
“In this respect I want to emphasise that there is absolute need to avoid a gathering of a crowd of more than 100 people anywhere in the state. Where such crowds must gather, those involved MUST wear face masks. There should be wash-hand stands readily available with alcohol based sanitisers at such gatherings.
“To further strengthen safety measures, all government workers are to stay at home from tomorrow, Monday, December 21, till further notice, except for permanent secretaries and political appointees. This means that the state secretariat, which is a major crowd puller, will remain closed, from tomorrow, to the public until further notice.”