Amid widespread complaint among citizens that certain security personnel were taking advantage of COVID-19 restrictions to unduly extort the people, the Delta State Government yesterday said that it was relaxing the dusk to dawn curfew imposed on the state in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the 329 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in Nigeria yesterday, took the number of confirmed cases to 48,445 with 35,998 discharged and 973 deaths.
The Delta State Government also announced the restoration of the traditional market days across all the 25 local government areas of the state even as government insisted that restrictions on operations of certain businesses and public gatherings would remain in force towards checking the spread of the virus in the state.
"Delta State Government has adjusted the curfew earlier imposed in the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic from the earlier period of 7:00p.m. to 6:00a.m. to a new period of 10:00p.m. to 5:30a.m.," the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Chiedu Ebie, said in a statement in Asaba on Thursday.
The state government, however, maintained a rigid stance against the reopening of certain public business places including cinemas, clubs and beer parlours, warning of severe repercussions for defaulters.
The statement, which appealed to the people "to continue to adhere strictly to all the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines," also announced the lifting of restrictions on different local market days introduced in the wake of the Coronavirus.
"Furthermore, Government has approved the resumption of normal trading activities in all markets across the 25 local government areas of the state.
"However, cinemas, bars in hotels and beer parlours remain closed while restaurants and eateries are to continue to serve their customers on take-away basis, even as Government would not hesitate to shut them down if they are observed to be in breach of the COVID-19 safety guidelines,",the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Assistant to the Government on Communication, Dr. Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, has appealed to the people to consider as necessary sacrifice and patriotic duty their adherence to the executive order from Governor Ifeanyi Okowa vis-a-vis the COVID-19 protocols prescribed by the WHO and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The governor's aide, while calling for united prayer and action, urged the citizens to complement government's concerted efforts by taking individual and collective responsibility for obeying executive order by ensuring that measures put in place to check and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 are observed as a patriotic duty.
Oghenesivbe said, "Citizens are expected to be patriotic and reciprocate the good intentions of government and the governor by complying with the executive order, and at the same time continue to adhere strictly to existing COVID-19 protocols so as to facilitate the total eradication of the Pandemic in the state.
"Markets across the state are to commence full scale commercial activities immediately but with a proviso that physical distancing and proper fitting of facemasks remained sacrosanct for both traders and customers. It is an offence to break these rules.
"In God we trust, which is why Deltans, and indeed Nigerians, must continue to pray for divine intervention in the curtailment of COVID-19 pandemic in the face of escalating positive cases in the state and across the country.
"Delta state has been rated as one of the best in the fight against the spread of the pandemic and it is important that we continue to work together as a people united against COVID-19.
"We must, therefore, combine prayers with strict adherence to preventive measures. Our God is able to see us through this trying period."