The popular Eke Awka Market in Anambra State

By Isa Isawade

Anambra Government will shut Eke Awka Market for two weeks, with effect from Monday 15 June over flagrant breaches of COVID-19 rules.

According to a release signed by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba,traders as well as suppliers in the market were recklessly violating regulations meant to contain the spread of COVID-19 disease in the state.

“The major condition for the reopening of markets in Anambra State on Monday, May 4, 2020, after five weeks of closure as a critical step in the war to save our people from the ravages of COVID-19, was that all stakeholders in the markets like buyers and sellers must always wear face coverings, provide water, soaps and hand sanitizers in every line, wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, and keep social distancing of six feet.

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“It is regrettable that these precautionary measures meant to protect the lives of millions of our people have flagrantly been violated habitually, especially in Eke Awka Market.

“The result is the recent spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and even fatalities in our dear state.

“Awka South Local Government Area, where Eke Awka is located, has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases of all LGAs in the state.

“The state Government is, therefore, constrained to close down Eke Awka for two weeks in the overriding public interest”, the release declared.

It also indicated that government would be closely monitoring the level of compliance with the protocols in other markets.

“Any market found to have a low compliance level will be shut down immediately and indefinitely”, the release read.

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Government also called on all motor garages, hotels and places of worship in the state to strictly comply with the requirements in the fight to check the spread of COVID-19.

It reminded residents to avoid handshakes and embraces; maintain a social distance of six feet; wear face mask in public and wash hands frequently with water and soap.

Government also reminded them to always cough into elbow or a disposable tissue.

“The public is reminded that the rampant violation by individuals of the protocols in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic will no longer be condoned.

Mobile courts are being set up in different parts of the state to try offenders who will be fined up to N10,000 or made to do community service.

“Individuals and organisations in the state should report to the Ministry of Health or to the Local Government or to the COVID-19 Task Force in any of the 326 wards in the state or the President General of the Town Union or the Traditional Ruler of their community any person who displays symptoms of COVID-19 like high fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.

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“They are also encouraged to report to any of the above any stranger in their midst or any person who has returned to the state in the last 14 days”, it urged.