Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has signed into operations the quarantine and restriction of movement regulations 2020 in view of the serious and imminent threat to Public Health by COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement signed yesterday by the Commissioner for Information Mr. Charles Udoh, the new law which is in effect across the 31 LGAs, was in accordance with Sections 4 and 8 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,2004 and Section 1 (1) (c) of the Akwa Ibom State Infectious Disease(Control of Spread) Law, 2014.
The statement stressed that the enforcement of the regulation, which shall come into force on March 30, 2020, and remain in force April 30, 2020, would be strictly carried out by the special enforcement team comprising all the service commanders and relevant government officials headed by the Commissioner of Police.
The statement reads in part,
“The whole area of landmass and water that constitute Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria consisting of thirty-one (31) Local Government Areas is hereby declared a Local Health Area.
” It is hereby declared that COVID-19 is a Dangerous Infectious Disease within the meaning and intendment of Section 2 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2, Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004, constitutes a serious and imminent threat to the public health of the people in the Local Area.
“To control the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent the spread of the disease, the movement of persons and vehicles within the State are hereby restricted as follows- commercial tricycles shall carry not more than two passengers only.
“Also mini buses shall carry not more than one passenger per row, and a private vehicle shall carry not more than two persons at the back seat and one on the Front Seat.
“All public parks, shops, eateries, clubs, restaurants, markets, and offices within the State shall remain closed except for the sale of foodstuffs, drugs and other essential commodities. All public burials, public weddings, and other forms of public gatherings are for the time being hereby prohibited.
“All places of religious worship, churches, and mosques shall strictly observe the social distancing prescription of a minimum of one-metre spacing and not more than twenty persons per gathering”
It added that handwashing facility with running water, soap, and sanitizer shall be made available, while all borders and roads leading into and out of the state remain closed, and all interstate transportation and movement on land, air, water prohibited.
The statement said notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 3 of the regulations, government and recognised security personnel, fire service personnel, medical health workers and other personnel on essential duties and food supplies were however hereby exempted.
“Any person who knows or has reason to believe that he has symptoms of, or is suffering from the Corona Virus disease shall submit himself for quarantine and treatment.
” Where a person under subparagraph (1) of Paragraph 7 of these regulations refuses to submit himself for treatment and quarantine, security and medical personnel may use such force as may be reasonably necessary and employ such method as may be sufficient to ensure compliance with this Regulations.
“Nothing that is reasonably done by an authorized officer for purpose of executing this regulation shall subject the authorized Officer personally to any action, liability, claim or demand whatsoever.
“Any person who contravenes the provision of this Regulations shall be prosecuted in accordance with the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and the Akwa Ibom State Infectious Disease (Control of Spread) Law, 2014 or any other applicable law in that regard.
“In addition to the penalty provided under the relevant laws where a person contravenes the provisions of paragraphs 3 and 5 of these Regulations, his vehicle may be impounded immediately and his License cancelled or suspended for a stipulated period of time.
“Security agencies are hereby directed to enforce strict compliance with the regulations herein contained. The public is enjoined to note and comply accordingly”, it asserted.