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The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, on Tuesday confirmed the eighth coronavirus case in the state. He also said only a partial lockdown was feasible in the state.

Mr Mohammed announced the new case while briefing journalists at the end of “an extraordinary stakeholders’ meeting” on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor chaired the meeting where a possible lockdown of the state was discussed ahead of the coming Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

At the end of the meeting, the attendees agreed that only a partial lockdown would be feasible in Bauchi, the governor said. The meeting was attended by religious, traditional and political leaders in the state, as well as representatives of security agencies.

Mr Mohammed, who delivered a summary of the closed-door meeting that lasted about two hours, said though more cases of COVID-19 are being recorded, only a partial lockdown would work for the government and people of the state.

“After a thorough discussion with all stakeholders of Bauchi, we have thoroughly discussed the problems and challenges on the prevalence of the COVID-19 in Bauchi,” he said.

“We have also taken cognizance of the fact that Ramadan is approaching, and the majority of the people have always considered this moment as period of worship.

“And looking at all the decisions taken by the Jamaatul Nasirul Islam, and opinions expressed by our emirs, our ulamas, we came to the conclusion that the committee on COVID-19 in Bauchi will sit down with a cross-section of jlama and clergymen to come out with clear guidelines on a partial lockdown on Bauchi State.”

He said the partial lockdown was also necessitated by the number of cases recorded in some other northern states.

“This is being considered because we have a resurgence with what is happening in Kano, our neighbours and even here in Bauchi.

“Even as we are meeting, I understand that there is another case that has been mentioned that has been found to be positive among the WHO staff – and now we have three active cases.”

Stressing that his government would not relent in efforts to curtail the spread of the pandemic, Mr Mohammed said he now has the full backing of the stakeholders to do all that is needful.

“The stakeholders of Bauchi have taken responsibility and they have given the government of Bauchi the mandate to take any action that will stop the prevalence or escalation of this COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are therefore going to sit down and come up with clear guidelines but taking into cognisance what we will do to ensure sensitisation and congregation following the protocols established by WHO in terms of social distancing and sensitisation.”

He said the partial lockdown will involve “more stringent measures that will affect the whole state.”

A palliative committee

The governor also said a palliative committee has been set up and will be headed by the Emir of Bauchi, Rilwanu Adamu.

“And we are going to have a committee on palliation to be headed by His Royal Highness the Emir of Bauchi and other members that will comprise clergymen, ulamas, politicians, women and youth groups so that we will be able to deepen corporate social responsibility,” he said.

He said the committee and the COVID-19 committee headed by the deputy governor have been charged to come up with clear guidelines on the implementation of things that will affect tafsir (sermon), congregational prayers, the market, and transportation.

Bauchi has eight recorded cases of COVID-19, according to the NCDC. Of this figure, the state currently has three active cases, while five have been discharged.

On Sunday, a WHO staff who had a travel history to Kano was confirmed to be positive. And in response to the development, the state ministry of health ordered the sealing of the WHO/UNICEF office after decontaminating the facility.

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