Governor Nyesom Wike is to impose fresh lockdown on Rivers State from next month due to rising COVID-19 infections.
He dropped the hint at a thanksgiving church service to mark the 90th birthday of Mrs. Priscilla Nwanediye Mark at St. Martin’s Anglican Church, Omagwa in Ikwerre council area yesterday.
Wike described as worrisome the refusal by most churches and markets to enforce compulsory wearing of face masks.
He said though the state government had relaxed restriction on worship centres, new stringent measures would be introduced next week to check the spread of the virus in the state.
Wike said: “When you go to some churches, they don’t wear face masks. Go to market, they don’t wear face masks. They believe COVID-19 is not real. It’s not real because it has not happened to you. Nobody had died whom you know. When somebody has died and the person was close to you, you will know that COVID-19 is real.
“So, it is real and I want to appeal to all of you that we have to be more strict now because the second wave is more dangerous than the first. It’s very, very dangerous. I know how many people we have lost since the second wave started.”
The governor implored the diocesan bishop of Ikwerre to prevail on members to comply with existing safety guidelines.
He went on: “If you don’t comply, I have no choice, but to shut down the churches. I have no choice, because when you have it, who spends the money? It is the state that treats. So, we need to use the money for some other things, but not for this. Let us discipline ourselves and know that COVID-19 is real. Let nobody tell you that there is nothing like COVID-19. It’s real.”