The Ebonyi State Government has directed the activation of primary isolation centres in the 64 Development Centres across the 13 local government areas of the State as holding facilities for returnees who defy border lockdown.
The directive was part of Governor David Umahi’s statewide broadcast on Wednesday on ongoing efforts to stem the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.
Umahi, who described the pandemic as an evolving phenomenon, said it required dynamic strategies to contain.
He explained that the primary isolation centres at the development centres would be used to house all those who smuggled themselves into the villages and communities for 14 days for observation.
According to the Governor, those certified free after the 14 days would be allowed to reintegrate with the community, while those with suspected symptoms would be transferred to the State isolation centre for testing and possible treatment.
He further explained that the measure had become necessary to check community transmission of the virus as well as decongest the centralised holding centre at the Ngele Oruta township stadium, Abakaliki.
It would also ensure that no one sneaks into the villages from outside without being captured.
He tasked the Council Chairmen, Development Council Coordinators, traditional rulers and other community heads to be responsible in fishing out those who smuggled themselves into the villages and bring them to the primary holding centres.
Umahi assured that the State has made full arrangement for the feeding and other basic needs of all those to be held at the primary holding centres for the period of two weeks.
He further assured that all suspected cases, which eventually tests negative for COVID-19, but with other treatable ailments would be given free medical attention and discharged.
Umahi explained: “We have directed that from Monday, the 11th of this month, all the 64 Development Centres will be activated as our holding centres.
“And each of these Development Centre in each local government is going to have at least, three holding centres.
“Any of our people that defies our instruction and smuggle themselves will not be chased back.
“But if the person is coming from Edo or any of the South Western States, they will be isolated in a particular development centre.
“Each Development Centre is going to distill its people that smuggled themselves into the State.
“Any of their people coming into the State from outside will be housed there in isolation for 14 days.
“If anyone from any of the Development centres come into the State without our knowledge, it will be the duty of the Chairmen, the Coordinators, the traditional rulers to fish the person out, put him in the isolation centre at the Development Centres.
“We are directing the Chairmen, the Coordinators, the traditional rulers and town union executives to fish out anyone who comes into the State irrespective of the person’s status, and get him to the holding Centre for isolation for 14 days, by all means.
The Governor emphasised that from Monday, the Ngele Oruta township Stadium, Abakaliki would no longer continue to hold all those who smuggled themselves into the State as before.
All those arrested at the borders would be handed over to their respective Chairmen for isolation in the primary holding facilities at their Development Centres for 14 days with available medical personnel to attend to them.