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COVID-19 infection has continued to be on the increase in Rivers State, South-south Nigeria.

Rivers State recorded 27 new infections on Sunday, one of the highest so far recorded in a single day in the oil-rich state.

The Commissioner for Information in the state, Paulinus Nsirim, said on Monday that the manager of Prodest Hotel, Eleme, one of the two hotels demolished recently in the state for allegedly violating the COVID-19 order in the state, is among the infected persons.

“This latest development validates the state government’s proactive approach towards the fight against COVID-19,” Mr Nsirim said in a statement emailed to PREMIUM TIMES.

The state recorded 52 cases between May 13 and 20.

The number of confirmed cases in the state is 116 as of May 24, according to the data released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Thirty COVID-19 patients have been treated and discharged, while there are 78 active cases in Rivers. Eight persons have so far died of COVID-19 in the state.

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has deployed measures, some of them hard and controversial, including the demolition of the hotels, to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The state government has also arrested oil workers and pilots accused of entering the state “illegally” during the lockdown.

Mr Wike has been captured in video clips published on social media walking on the roads, angrily interrogating motorists who may have violated the lockdown order in the state.

In one of the videos, he was seen threatening to shut down a bank branch for not getting their customers to observe social distancing in their premises.

Mr Wike’s tactics have been condemned by rights groups with one of them, SERAP, suing him at the ECOWAS court for violation of the rights of residents of the state.

The state has a task force on ‘border closure’ to prevent people and vehicles from entering the state during the lockdown.

The governor, who said COVID-19 is “worse than a conventional war”, has accused the federal government of being biased against Rivers regarding its support for the COVID-19 fight in the different states.

He has also accused the federal government of “sabotaging” the state.
“We are being sabotaged at sea, land and at the Domestic Wing of the airport. Sometimes, they secretly receive flights and before we know the people sneak into the town,” Mr Wike said.

Lagos State, South-west Nigeria, with 3,505 cases, is the epicentre of coronavirus in the country.

The number of confirmed cases in Nigeria is 7,839.

Coronavirus factsheet

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