Kaduna state governor Nasir El-Rufai has threatened to impose a fresh lockdown in the state following a sharp rise the number of COVID-19 infections within a few days.
DAILY FOCUS reports that Mr El-Rufai issued the threat in an interview with BBC Hausa on Monday.
The governor expressed concern that the continuous rise in coronavirus infections may overwhelm the hospitals in Kaduna state unless a drastic step is taken to check the trend.
Figures released by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) shows that at least 54 new COVID-19 cases were recorded last Friday alone in the state.
“On Fridays, you see people forming large crowds. If we decide to allow the daily congregational prayers, these gatherings would continue to worsen. People are not obeying the rules and protocols at all,” Mr El-Rufai said.
According to the NCDC, a total of 95 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the state in just three days.
“People are not observing any of the regulations we put in place to check the spread of this disease. If we re-open the markets today, a single person can transmit this disease to thousands.
“In addition, even if you are able to identify an infected person, how can you trace the patient’s contacts in a market place?,” he asked.
It may be recalled that Kaduna state had spent at least 75 days in total lockdown imposed by Mr El-Rufai since March, 2020 to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The governor, who had contracted the disease himself, only lifted the restriction on June 10, 2020,although markets and places of worships are largely closed, putting pressure on the state’s struggling economy.
Begging is better than dying
There have been concerns over the collapse of Kaduna’s already weak economy due to the continuous closure of markets and other business outlets.
When Mr El-Rufai was asked if he was aware of reports that many business people have turned to beggars, he replied: “But begging is better than death”.
“It is better to beg since you’re alive than to die. The obligation that Allah imposes on us is to safeguard life and property. As for business, we can support it,” he said.
“When things return to normal, we can see how we can support the business community so that businesses can pick up as usual,” the governor said.