Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Deputy Governor Bayelsa State

“The virus is real, and so, we must all redouble our efforts to curb its spread in the rural areas. We will not succeed in this fight if you show indifference and lack of commitment”

Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo has called on people of the state to discountenance mythical beliefs and opinions that COVID-19 is not real but a mere ploy by government to make money.

The Deputy Governor made the call in Yenagoa on Tuesday at a meeting with local government chairmen, primary healthcare coordinators and other critical stakeholders in the fight against the spread of the pandemic in the state.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo in a statement by his media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, urged the people to disabuse their minds of such beliefs and opinions as no responsible government would play politics with the health of its citizens.

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He said COVID-19 is real and therefore requires the cooperation of all to overcome the health and socioeconomic challenges thrown up by the disease.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo identified prevention as the best panacea for the ravaging virus as there is yet to be a scientifically approved cure or vaccine for the novel pandemic.

Responding to the briefings by all the local council chairmen and their respective primary healthcare coordinators, the deputy governor expressed dissatisfaction with the level of sensitization and other preventive measures in the rural areas.

He therefore urged the local government COVID-19 teams to intensify efforts at promoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) safety protocols as adopted by the state government in their areas.

Addressing the issue of funding, Senator Ewhrudjakpo pledged government’s financial support to councils within the limits of available resources, through what he described as strategic budgeting.

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The Deputy Governor explained that funds would be allocated to the councils based on commitment to the fight against the pandemic and not on the basis of equality.

He also directed the local government COVID-19 teams to liaise with their state counterparts to get their fair share of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and other medical consumables for onward distribution to frontline health workers in the communities.

His words: Your response in my considered opinion is not very encouraging. People don’t seem to understand the seriousness of Coronavirus maybe due to the seeming low fatality rate in the country for now.

“Yesterday (Monday) the state COVID-19 Team reviewed the situation and it was clear that what is happening in the local government areas is a far cry from what is happening at the state level.

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“There is also this seeming impression that COVID-19 is not real. That, it is a mere ploy to either collect money or do some other activities. There are different myths, beliefs and behavior that are still affecting most of our people.

“And it’s quite unfortunate. This means there is still lack behavioral change among our people particularly those in the rural communities.

The virus is real, and so, we must all redouble our efforts to curb its spread in the rural areas. We will not succeed in this fight if you show indifference and lack of commitment.

“Right now there is a palpable fear and danger that our neighbouring states have become states of particular interest to the Federal Government. There is therefore need for us to up our game.”

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