Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia’s port city of Jeddah on lockdown; Fayemi shuts border; 22 vehicles impounded at club houses in Ibadan; Babandede tests positive


Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, imposed a lockdown on the Red Sea city of Jeddah, the fourth Saudi city to be subjected to the measure as the Gulf monarchy struggles to contain the coronavirus.
According to the Saudi State News Agency, SPA, entering and exiting Jeddah was banned as of Sunday.
Earlier, a nationwide night-time curfew was imposed and had been extended as of Sunday by four hours in Jeddah, a commercial hub.
The curfew now begins in Jeddah each day at 3:00 p.m (1200 GMT) and runs through until 6:00 a.m.
On Thursday, the Saudi authorities enforced a total lockdown on the capital, Riyadh, along with Makkah and Madinah, Islam’s two holiest cities, as part of tighter restrictions against the virus.
The kingdom, the birthplace of Islam, had already halted religious journeys to Makkah and Madinah.
SPA reported that Saudi Arabia had also renewed a halt to international and domestic flights as well as local transport until further notice.
However, the Saudi Health Ministry had announced four more deaths from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, bringing the country’s death toll to eight.
The ministry also recorded 96 new virus cases.
The latest cases rose to 1,299 the overall infections in Saudi Arabia, the highest tally in an Arab country.
Also, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, on Sunday, announced a lockdown in the state, directing residents to stay at home from Monday.
The governor, in a broadcast, imposed a ban on all commercial activities as well as intra state travels, except for those bordering on essential services.
He said that anyone that violated the latest measures aimed at checking further spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state, risked a six-month jail term.
The  governor expressed regrets that past measures adopted by him to curtail the virus were being brazenly ignored.
He said: “It is very disappointing that some of us have either been lukewarm, nonchalant or downright defiant in observing the simple but extremely effective preventive measures as well as maintaining social distancing to protect themselves from infection and curtail the spread of the virus in their communities.
” While I acknowledge our resilient nature, incurable optimism and spiritual activism as a people, it is critical that we balance these with pragmatic and urgent actions that can ensure the safety of lives for our families and communities
“If we do not take steps necessary to contain this virus, it has the potential to overwhelm our health infrastructure, cripple our economy and devastate Ekiti  in unimaginable proportions.
” As you are aware, the state is under significant financial constraints especially as a direct consequence of the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy and the price of crude oil that has gone down considerably.
” So, we cannot afford a public health crisis,
” It is, therefore, in urgent public interest that, I hereby, in pursuant to Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) impose a curfew of movement in Ekiti .
” The purpose of this curfew is to impose restrictions on the movement of persons and goods within Ekiti  for an initial period of 14 days.
” Therefore, effective from 1:59pm on Monday, March 30, 2020 until 11:59pm on Monday, April 13, 2020, there shall be restriction of movement across the length and breadth of Ekiti, with all our borders closed.
” That is a full and total shutdown of Ekiti, and a 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew in Ekiti  from 7:00pm – 7:00 am. All Ekiti residents are hereby directed to stay at home
” We are implementing the Quarantine Act to keep all Ekiti residents safe. So let me be clear. If you do not go home or stay home for at least 14 days as from Monday, 30 March, 2020, you can face serious fines or prison term.
” During this period, movement between local governments areas is prohibited; movement between towns, villages and communities is also prohibited; every person shall be confined to the place where he or she ordinarily resides in Ekiti,” he said.
He emphasised that all businesses and other entities should cease operations during this period except those involved in the provision of essential goods or services.
” Markets, retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where essential goods are sold and with strict hygienic conditions to prevent the exposure of persons to COVID-19.
” Religious gatherings like worship and prayer services, night vigils, house fellowships and NASFAT meetings; social gatherings like  funerals, weddings, family meetings and parties of any kind in night clubs, bars, beer joints; and political gatherings like. rallies, congresses, ward meetings, all of these are prohibited activities under these regulations.
” Only gathering in respect of funeral will be allowed but the attendance shall be limited to 20 persons with no night vigil or party.
” All boundaries of Ekiti  are closed during this period, except for transportation of fuel, food and drugs and other essential goods.
” All non-residents who arrive the state prior to, or after, the imposition of this restriction, and who remain in the state, must remain in their place of temporary residence in the state for the duration of the 14 days, as the case may be, and may be subjected to screening for COVID-19 and be quarantined or isolated if necessary.
” All commuter transport services including bus services, taxi services, motor bikes (Okada) and tricycle services, are prohibited; except those for purposes of rendering essential services, obtaining essential goods, seeking medical attention, funeral services and to receive payment of social grants or food
” Only those who are performing essential services will be allowed to move around, particularly health workers, but must be duly designated with an identity card by the head of their institutions.
Fayemi clarified that only few category of individuals and institutions providing certain critical services were  exempted from the restrictions:
They include members of the state Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary;
The list also included persons in production, distribution and marketing of food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, medicine, paper and plastic packages, environmental and sanitation activities, staff of electricity, water, telecommunications, e-commerce and digital service providers.
The rest were members of security agencies assigned on lawful duties; staff of banks and similar financial institutions and staff of fuel stations.
” Any person who contravenes these regulations shall be guilty of an offence and, on conviction, liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both  fine and imprisonment,”  the governor said.
Fayemi, who said he was aware of the negative consequences of the new development on businesses and families, said palliatives were being worked out for residents, especially high risk and vulnerable citizens.
Meanwhile, Oyo State COVID-19 Security and Enforcement Sub-Committee has impounded 22 illegally parked vehicles at club houses and public places in Ibadan during its special night operations on Saturday.
A statement on Sunday in Ibadan by the state Ministry of Information, indicated that Mr Akin Fagbemi, the Chairman of the Oyo State Road Maintenance Agency (OYRTMA), said the operation was a pre-patrol to enforce the dusk till dawn curfew, which commences across the state on Sunday (today).
According to the statement, the enforcement team dispersed clusters of persons that formed crowd of more than 10 at club houses visited during the operation.
“They also gave sufficient information on the need for residents to comply with the state government’s directives on social distancing, regular washing of hands and other guidelines.
The club houses visited included: Platinum, Hexagon, Pleasure Summit, Cimola Hotel, Latitude, Mauve 21, Ventura and Shanty’s club, all in Ibadan.
“In readiness for full enforcement of dusk till dawn curfew with effect from Sunday, Fagbemi distributed protective tools such as hand gloves, portable sanitisers, nose masks and thermometers to the enforcement sub committee team and charged them to be professional in the exercise.
He also urged them to respect fundamental human rights in the course of the operation.
“The Oyo State COVID-19 Security and Enforcement subcommittee is made up of OYRTMA officers and other security agencies.
“The enforcement operation is aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 among residents of the state, particularly through transport operators, night clubs and other public places,” the statement read.
Oyo State had recorded seven positive cases of COVID-19 as at Saturday night.
Governor Seyi Makinde, on Saturday, imposed a curfew (7p.m to 6a.m) and suspension of interstate transportation into and out of the state with effect from Sunday night, March 29.
Makinde also gave a directive that no public place or gathering should harbour above 10 persons at a time.
The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, has tested positive to the corona virus disease, an official has disclosed.
A statement by DCI Sunday James, the Service Public Relations Officer, disclosed that the Immigration boss had been on self isolation since he returned from the United Kingdom (UK).
He said: “As a top official of government, he has adhered to the NCDC instructions to self isolate and undergo test. The result of the test came out positive, hence the need to make it public.”
James said that the Comptroller General is in stable condition and responding to treatment.
“The Comptroller General is active and directing as expected the affairs of the service online, while the Deputy Comptroller General Overseeing the administration of the service is in touch online to keep service activities running within this period.”
He said the service would continue to deliver on its mandate for the nation even in this trying times as we pray the whole world get over it, Nigeria inclusive.


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