Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has directed the Ministry of Homeland Security to without delay ensure that everyone in a compound of a community in Umuahia South Local Government of the state and the home town of a man believed to have died in Kano of Coronavirus, and aall the mourners who visited the family be quarantined.
Ikpeazu’s directive followed a report that a family sneaked into the state during the weekend with the corpse of their father who allegedly died of COVID-19 in Kano and was ferried to a community in Umuahia South LGA where unsuspecting citizens have been going to mourn with them unprotected.
The governor said the quarantine of the deceased family members and everyone in the compound would remain in place pending when the state medical rapid response team has fully collected and tested samples of all those involved including their visitors and mourners.
A release by the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi-kalu titled “Remain wherever you are till this pandemic is over” said, “Abia State Government has received multiple intelligence and confirmation of certain persons and families of Abia origin currently residing in states with rising cases of COVID-19 planning to bring home corpses of family members suspected to have died from the virus for burial in our communities in total violation of the existing ban on inter-state movement and without notification or approval from relevant authorities in the state.
The most worrisome case is that of a family that recently sneaked into the state during the weekend with the corpse of their father who allegedly died of COVID-19 in Kano and was ferried to a community in Umuahia South LGA where unsuspecting citizens have been going to mourn with them unprotected.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to restate that whoever enters our state during this period of ban on inter state movement is in breach of state and federal regulations and will have themselves to blame as the law will be applied to the fullest in order to protect the people of Abia State”.
The stated that all village heads, traditional rulers and community leaders must take responsibility to stop and report any person or group of persons that enters their communities from outside the state within this period or face necessary sanctions.
The release added that on no account should any corpse from outside the state be brought into any community for burial or preservation in a mortuary without the written approval of the state or local government concerned.
It equally stated that mortuaries in the state were not permitted to receive any corpses without obtaining permit from relevant local or state authorities to avoid immediate sanctions which will include closure of such facility.
“The morgue operators should also endeavor to report families with such corpses to the relevant authorities”.
Meanwhile, Ikpeazu has directed the enforcement team of the state inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19 to impound all commercial inter-state vehicles operating within this period and quarantine both the drivers and passengers at the nearest general hospital for a minimum period of 21 days.
“We strongly advise citizens and residents of the state to remain wherever they are within or outside the state till this pandemic is over”.
The governor threatened to re-impose full lockdown of the state if residents abuse the partial relaxation.