Amidst increasing cases of COVID-19 in the state, the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, on Sunday, declared a 24 hours curfew in three local government areas bordering Kano State.
The total curfew is expected to last for the next ten days.
Mr Mohammed declared the total lockdown after Bauchi recorded 66 new cases of COVID-19 in less than 24 hours. A total of 44 of the cases were announced Saturday night by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) while the state government confirmed 22 new cases Sunday afternoon.
Bauchi now has 183 cases, the fourth highest coronavirus cases in Nigeria.
The governor said a large number of the new cases come from Katagum, a local government that shares boundaries with communities in Kano State.
The governor said it has become worrisome that 69 of the 183 cases in Bauchi were recorded in Azare and environs, in Katagum local government.
He blamed the situation in the area on the “influx of people from Kano State.”
Speaking at an emergency press conference Sunday, Governor Mohammed informed journalists that the state government had, based on advice from the COVID-19 committee, decided to shut down Katagum local government and two other council areas that share common boundaries with Kano and Jigawa state.
“The total lockdown on the three local government areas is necessary because we just got results from the NCDC of 66 confirmed cases of which 42 of them are from Azare alone,” the governor said.
Mr Mohammed said Katagum, Giade and Zaki local government areas would be shut down completely for the 10 days to allow health officials carry out contact tracing while security officials will seal off all identified routes linking the state with its neighbours.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that of the 44 confirmed cases reported by NCDC on Saturday, 27 are from Azare, seven from Giade while the remaining ten are from the Bauchi axis.
Our reporter also gathered that of the 22 confirmed cases, on Sunday, 15 are from Azare, five from Bauchi, and two from Giade.
Governor Mohammed said stringent disciplinary measures would be meted on persons who flout the 24 hours curfew in the next ten days.
Before now, reports have gone viral on social media that hundreds of residents in Azare town have been dying of a disease suspected to be COVID-19.
The state deputy governor, Baba Tela, who chairs the COVID-19 committee, said earlier that the “rumored mass death” had nothing to do with the new coronavirus.
He said the deaths in Azare were akin to the mysterious deaths that have been reported in Kano state lately.
He, however, confirmed that local undertakers in Azare had personally informed him that they have been burying at least six corpses per day in the past week.
Also corroborating the claims of his deputy, Governor Mohammed said he has received a report that about 150 persons have died from the “strange disease.”
Bauchi State has been under “partial lockdown” for the past two weeks, as the state government ordered the closure of markets, religious centres and government offices. Only outfits running essential services are allowed to open shops. Other non-food markets and shops are only allowed to open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays to help residents restock.