Abia State Government has relaxed its lockdown for three days to enable residents to restock foodstuffs in their homes ahead of the Easter celebration.
The state introduced the lockdown on April 1 as part of the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic into the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Kalu Okiyi, announced the measure on Thursday in Umuahia, the state capital.
He said the government took the initiative so that residents could purchase foodstuffs to celebrate Easter.
He said the people are free to move around from 6am to 2pm on Friday and Sunday.
“This is to enable our people to go to market and buy foodstuffs and go to church for the Easter celebration.
“We want to be sure that while we continue to fight COVID-19 that our people stay alive,” he said.
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Mr Okiyi further said the state would temporarily suspend the ongoing fumigation of parts of the state.
He expressed joy that Abia had yet to record any case, saying that suspected cases sent to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control for tests later proved negative.
“As at today, Abia is COVID-19 free,” he said, adding that the government had strengthened its health facilities with well-equipped isolation centres.
The commissioner said the extension of the lockdown from one to two weeks was to exhaust the 14-day incubation period for the coronavirus.
He, therefore, admonished residents to continue to observe health advice on handwashing, social distancing, use of hand sanitisers and face masks.
Mr Okiyi also spoke on the ongoing distribution of palliatives to indigent and vulnerable residents via the churches and mosques.
He said the government had implicit confidence in the clerics to ensure equitable distribution of the items, which included rice, yam, beans, hand sanitisers and face masks, to the target group.
He said the government also planned to use traditional rulers and president-generals of town unions to deliver the palliatives to non-Christians.
He said the government would deploy its geriatric programme to move into the villages and communities to provide medicare and support to the sick and aged persons during the lockdown.