Bayelsa State government has relaxed its COVID-19 lockdown measures for the period of the Easter to enable Christian faithful to fully participate in the celebration.
This followed an appeal by the state organs of the various Christian bodies.
Governor Douye Diri stated this during an enlarged meeting with members of the COVID-19 Task Force, security agencies and leadership of the Christian and Muslim communities in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a press release by his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, the governor emphasized that the relaxed measure was specific to church services during the Easter celebration.
He said churches with large congregation would be permitted to have 50 persons during services while 20 worshippers would be allowed for smaller churches.
He cautioned them to adhere strictly to all the preventive measures, including social distancing of at least two meters and washing of hands with soap and running water.
The governor noted that after Easter, the lockdown would revert to the status quo to ensure public health and prevention of the COVID-19 in the state.
He said the stay-at-home order for civil servants and all other earlier measures have been extended for another two weeks, pointing out that they would be reviewed every two weeks until the COVID-19 crisis abates.
Senator Diri also hinted that as part of efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, oil multinational, AGIP in conjunction with its joint venture partners has approved Bayelsa to site its health facility in the South-South zone towards combating viral infections.
He directed the Ministry of Lands to make land available for the project.
He also highlighted donations made by some corporate organizations, which include the United Bank for Africa (N28.5million), Niger Delta Development Commission (N100million), Sterling Bank (N100million) and the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (300 bags of rice).
According to Diri, the state government on its part has approved another N98 million for the procurement of foodstuff as palliatives to Bayelsans.
He equally directed that traders on the roadside at the Swali Market be relocated to the unoccupied lock-up shops to make for easy movement within the market.
Taking turns to brief the committee on their challenges, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodu Akpoku and his counterpart on Information, Chief Freston Akpor, enumerated efforts so far made in the fight to prevent COVID-19.
Also, the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Security, Dr. Boma Spero-Jack, identified the refusal of very important personalities to be screened at entry points as a major challenge to the prevention of the pandemic in the state.