Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, has announced partial lockdown of Rivers State.
He also suspended operations of night clubs, cinemas and public parks as part of measures to prevent the Coronavirus pandemic.
Though the state has not recorded any positive case of the pandemic, Wike has been rolling out measures to stop the virus from getting to Rivers, including closing public and private schools and directing restrictions in religious and transport activities.
In his latest announcement on Monday, the Governor said significant public places would remain closed till further notice beginning from March 24.
He insisted that his government was committed to protecting the residents.
Wike, in a state broadcast, directed religious groups to temporarily stop all forms of open worship and ordered the suspension of public burials and weddings.
He said: “With effect from the same date (Tuesday, March 24, 2020), all public parks, night clubs and cinemas in the State are to remain closed till further notice.
“Similarly, after due consultations with religious leaders, it was agreed that all religious organisations are to temporarily stop all forms of open worship. Public burial and wedding ceremonies are also banned within this period.
“In view of the fact that the disease spreads fast through body contact, social distance has become imperative if we are to contain the spread.
“May I, therefore, call on all religious leaders, traditional rulers and opinion leaders in the State to assist government to implement these decisions by ensuring that persons under their care do not fall foul of this directive.”
The governor further directed local government council chairmen to ensure that public burials and weddings do not take place in their respective areas.
He said: “May I emphasise that Local Government Chairmen are to be held responsible if public burials and weddings take place in their Local Government Areas.
“Government will set up monitoring teams for the 23 Local Government Areas to ensure compliance. Defaulters will be seen as enemies of the State and will be made to face appropriate sanctions.
“My Dear Good People of Rivers State, the essence of governance is to protect lives and we cannot be indifferent when this COVID-19 continues to claim lives worldwide.
“We urge everyone to remain calm and maintain social distance. We shall continue to review the situation and adjust accordingly.
“Like I said in my broadcast last Friday, these decisions may seem painful for all of us but there is no price that is too much to pay for us to stay alive.”
He said with effect from March 24, surveillance posts would be set up across the state.