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Low key celebration in Cross River as Ayade extends lockdown

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The celebration of Easter Sunday yesterday was devoid of the usual funfair in Calabar, Cross River State due to government’s stay-at-home order to control the spread of Coronavirus.

In line with the state partial lockdown policy, Governor Ben Ayade directed that only five persons should participate in Easter vigil and masses and services.

He gave the directive in his Easter message, saying, “The Easter Vigil, masses and services are allowed for five persons only and the duration should not be more than one hour per service, while worshippers must keep the appropriate two meter distance”.

Consequently, most churches locked their doors while some had their services at 5.30am discretely to beat the COVID-19 Task force.Also, the ever-busy eateries, bars and funfair centres during festivals did not hold Easter funfair this year even as popular Marian road where most of the activities take place remained serene with only few persons walking on the streets.

The residents said with the fast spread of the virus to 19 states across the country, most families prefer to stay indoors to keep safe, lamenting the restriction of their movements as a result of total lockdown of social activities, especially during the Easter.

A resident, who was returning from Church about 8am yesterday told The Guardian that their service was shifted to the early hours to avoid disruption of service or arrest of members for violating the order.

Another resident, Mrs. Lovett Offiong, said what the government did was the right thing to keep the people safe from the pandemic, adding that she and her family members had been following the stay-at-home order and if she must go out, she goes out alone and with her nose mask.

Meanwhile, the state government has extended its border closure with its South-South and South East neighbours by two weeks.

Commissioner for Health and Chairman COVID-19 Team, Dr. Betta Edu, with directive from Governor Ayade on March 30 shut its border with Akwa Ibom at the Calabar-Itu bridge and extended it to other states.

Cross Rivers has so far remained COVID-19-free, even as a statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the governor, Christian Ita, announced the extension yesterday stressing, “All entry and exit points (air, land and water) into the state hereby remain closed for another two weeks.”

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