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Imo clerics, worshippers, residents ignore gov, flout COVID-19 protocols

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Hope Uzodimma

The second COVID-19 lockdown threat by Governor Hope Uzodimma at the weekend notwithstanding, Imo church leaders, worshippers and residents in parts of the state were yesterday seen not observing the extant safety guidelines – wearing of face masks and gathering of 50 – in the breach.

The governor had issued the warning following the rising infections in the state and subsequently announced establishment of four mobile courts to try offenders.

Just in a day last week, Imo posted over 50 confirmed cases.

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The Guardian gathered yesterday that presiding priests and worshippers held services without face masks and deference to both physical social distancing.

A particular church hosted about 1,000 faithful at once.

A worshiper on Wethdral Road, Owerri, said: “Please, let us leave those people in government and move on. They want something else to make money. I have not seen anybody with coronavirus.”

In the telecast, Uzodimma had ordered: “These measures equally apply to all forms of religious gatherings, marriages or funerals. Similarly, all markets in the state must ensure that their customers wear face masks. The leaderships of the markets must provide hand sanitisers and put wash handstands at strategic points. Leaders of the different markets shall be held accountable for the enforcement of these measures. Violators risk prosecution and attendant punishment.

“Let me be emphatic in announcing that henceforth, no one will be allowed to enter any public building in the state without a face mask. Also, heads of ministries, departments and agencies ((MDAs) must ensure that wash hand stands and sanitisers are mounted at strategic positions in their MDAs. Those who fail to enforce these safety protocols equally risk prosecution with the attendant penalty.”

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