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COVID-19: Akwa Ibom lifts ban on weddings, burials

The Akwa Ibom State government has lifted the ban on weddings and burials in the state which it imposed in March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state governor, Udom Emmanuel, who announced the lifting of the ban on Thursday, however, said people who wish to organise funeral ceremonies and weddings in the state must follow strict guidelines.

“If you are doing funeral in an open space like a field in a primary school you must not have more than 50 people. We are not forcing you to do the burial, but if you must do it, you must do it within our guidelines. Not more than 50 people and you must adhere to all our guidelines which was drafted by the Christian Association of Nigeria,” Mr Emmanuel said during a live radio and television interview in Uyo.

“They (people attending the burial) must all wear facemask, have hand sanitisers, (and adhere to) everything that has been outlined by CAN.

“If you are doing the burial inside the church, people inside should not be more than 30,” Mr Emmanuel said.

The governor said the same condition is applicable to those wanting to do weddings in the state.

Monitoring teams would be dispatched to monitor and ensure strict compliance with the guidelines, he said.

Governor Emmanuel appealed to pastors to help in the implementation of the guidelines so as to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

“Please we don’t want anybody to expose himself or his own family. If you must go out, wear a facemask. If you don’t feel like wearing mask, please stay at home. A lot of people are asymptomatic to this and they keep infecting other people without knowing. And we don’t want this to continue,” he said.

Mr Emmanuel said it is “extremely expensive” to manage COVID-19 cases.

“Some of the drugs, we are running out of stock. And how to replenish the stock we don’t know because a whole lot of them are not manufactured here in Nigeria.

“I don’t want us to get to a point where we are overwhelmed.

“As I am talking, I am yet to receive one naira from the federal government to support our fight against COVID-19,” he said.

Akwa Ibom has 104 cases of COVID-19 as of July 2.

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