The Sokoto State Government has extended the ban on inter-state movements by two weeks in its effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19), the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Ali Inname, has announced.
The government made the announcement after a two-hour meeting of stakeholders which reviewed the situation in the state in Sokoto on Thursday.
The government imposed the ban, due to expire at midnight, on March 27.
Over the period, the government also shut its boundaries with other states as well as its international border with Niger Republic.
The meeting involved Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Saad Abubakar III.
While Sokoto State has yet to record any case of COVID-19, its neighbors have continued to record increased numbers, especially Niger Republic where 410 persons are confirmed to have been infected.
Inname, who briefed newsmen after the meeting, said the government also directed all workers on grade level 12 and below to work from home during the period.
He appealed to citizens to avoid assembling in large numbers for merry making or any other reason.
He said Tambuwal expressed gratitude to all stakeholders for their role in keeping the COVID-19 outbreak at bay in the state so far.
The governor also expressed appreciation to the security agencies in the state for checking those wanting to breach the restriction on movement, the commissioner said.
Before the meeting went into a closed-door session, Tambuwal appealed to the people to know that the disease was real.
He asked them to step up surveillance as the infection was rising in neighbouring Niger Republic, thus the need for citizens to desist from travelling to the country until the situation normalised
On his part, Abubakar expressed gratitude to the governor and enjoined the people to be vigilant and prayerful “as prayer is the shield of the believer”.
The sultan advised the people to maintain personal hygiene, social distance, read and acquire information about the disease.
“Those trying to go against the restriction of movement are not doing anybody any good. We should all take care and take note that the disease is real,” the monarch stressed.
He also advised that should government consider it necessary to impose a partial lockdown in the state, it should ensure that there was a lot of food and other things necessary for the people to survive on.
The sultan also advised the government to consult widely before taking decisions on issues relating to the disease outbreak.