Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri has assumed chairmanship of a special task force on COVID-19 (the novel Coronavirus) to directly oversee its activities in the state.
He has also mandated all local government chairmen to do the same in their respective councils.
Governor Diri announced the closure of all public and private schools with effect from Thursday, March 26, as part of measures to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
The governor, who stated this in a statewide broadcast on Saturday, said all public gatherings above 50 persons will be prohibited in the state starting Monday, March 23.
His Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted Governor Diri as saying the gatherings included religious worship centres and night clubs.
He said the government had set up a multi-sectoral task force charged with the responsibility of coordinating and implementing the state’s response to the pandemic.
Governor Diri noted that the state government had strengthened its level of preparedness through public information campaigns, community engagement and training of frontline health workers.
The governor, who announced that there is no case of the novel Coronavirus in the state, however, cautioned people of the state to adopt protective measures, including frequent handwashing under running water.
He further disclosed that the state-owned Niger Delta University (NDU) in Amassoma now produces hand sanitizers.
He said that the government had scaled up surveillance efforts and improved isolation facilities at the NDU teaching hospital at Okolobiri.
Diri, who advised members of the public to eschew rumour and panic, urged them to make inquiries about COVID-19 in the state by using the designated call centres.