Governor Nyesom Wike.

The Rivers state government has closed all schools in the state and directed all religious organisations to restrict their activities as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

In a statewide broadcast on Friday, Governor Nyesom Wike said that the action was taken in the interest of the state.

The closure affects public and private primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

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“The state is at an alert state. To further strengthen our resolve to protect our citizens, the state government has taken the following decisions: All Schools in the State are to be closed down with effect from Monday, March 23, 2020.”

“All religious organisations are to restrict their activities.”

Governor Wike said that his administration took the decision with a deep sense of responsibility.

“As you are aware, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has described coronavirus as a global pandemic. This development calls for collective action by all well – meaning citizens.

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“As a responsive government, even though we have not had a confirmed case of coronavirus, we did not rest on our oars as we set-up a five-man inter-ministerial committee to carry out an aggressive public enlightenment that will protect all those living and doing business in the State from the disease.”

“This decision was taken because we understand that we are the headquarters of the Hydrocarbon Industry and also a major commercial hub in the country that attracts people from all walks of life.”

“The committee had since its inauguration carried out stakeholders engagement with community development committees, religious groups, principals and head teachers of schools, traders association, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), military, paramilitary, police, International Oil Companies and Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON).

“In addition to this, radio and television jingles, flyers and billboards have been fully utilised by the committee to pass the prevention message to all the nooks and crannies of the State.”

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The Governor said158 surveillance and ad-hoc personnel have been trained, one treatment centre, holding centers in the two teaching hospitals and all general hospitals in the state are fully functional.

Wike said all health workers, both private and public have been trained and briefed on infection control measures and appropriate use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); hand sanitizers, infrared thermometers have been procured.

He said the state has redoubled surveillance at airports, seaports, waterways and land routes.

Governor Wike pleaded for the understanding of Rivers people in the face of the pandemic.