Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State on Friday made an unscheduled visit to the boundary points with Delta and Rivers to enforce the directive on the COVID-19 lockdown of the state.
It was gathered that the unplanned visit was not unconnected with reports of two suspected cases of coronavirus infection, which caused panic in the state on Friday.
The two suspected cases were said to have reported themselves at the state’s Specialist Hospital near Government House, Yenagoa, claiming to have contracted the virus.
Sources said the development caused pandemonium in the hospital as health workers, including doctors and nurses on duty, ran away.
The two suspected cases were said to have travelled into the state on Friday as a result of the porosity of the boundary points, which had been allegedly compromised by security personnel enforcing inter-state lockdown.
Dr Inodu Apoku, the chairman of the state’s COVID-19 Task Force Implementation Committee, confirmed that two suspected cases presented themselves at the hospital but explained that they fall within the protocol of coronavirus testing.
He said, “We have gone to interrogate. The cases, they were just mere alert. We looked at them, they didn’t fall in within the protocol of testing.
“But, we still took blood samples from them and we are sending them to Irrua (Specialist Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Edo State). But actually, they don’t fall in within the protocol of reporting. Two of them.”
The governor, who first visited Adagbabiri, the boundary community to Patani in Delta State, virtually took the security personnel at the entry point unawares as he arrived unannounced in an unmark Hilux vehicle and without siren blaring.
He immediately went into checking of vehicles coming into Bayelsa and anyone without the approved permit to be on the road was asked to turn back and prevented from entering the state.
Diri, according to a statement by his acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said that he would embark on such surprise visits regularly to the border points to underscore the seriousness his administration attached to preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic into the state.
“We cannot sleep or rest while we have an enemy we cannot see. COVID-19 is an enemy that we must fight till it is completely defeated,” he said.
He directed the Divisional Police Officer at Kaiama, Mr. E. Elisha, to ensure strict compliance with the directive on the lockdown of the entry points in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
At the Igbogene boundary point with Rivers, the governor met a large number of persons that the security personnel had prevented from entering the state.
While addressing them, he noted that the preventive measures so far taken by the state government were in their interest and that of others in the state.
The governor said, “We are doing this for your health. We have said nobody comes into Bayelsa and nobody leaves too. We have locked our boundaries with Delta and Rivers states. So, please for your health, stay where you are for now.
“We pray nobody contracts COVID-19 or dies from it. We want you to be safe where you are. We also know it is difficult for everyone at this time. But please go back and stay where you are.
“When the issue of COVID-19 relaxes, we would open our border for everybody to come in. For now, we can only allow in those whose movement is essential. But they too must have a permit to be allowed in.”