Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, in a live broadcast on Friday said that henceforth, violators of COVID-19 protocol in the state will serve a jail term of six months or pay the sum of 20,000 naira for their release if caught by the state task force.
The Governor regretted the complacent attitude of most Imo people towards the invasion of the virus, describing it as mere self delusion.
He said that the wearing of face mask will henceforth be enforced with a renewed vigour and charged the state COVID-19 task force led by Prof. Maurice Iwu to arrest and prosecute anyone seen in public without putting their face mask on.
According to him, “four mobile courts have been put in place, two in the state capital and one each in Orlu and Okigwe zones, to try offenders.
“The penalty for not wearing face mask is a maximum jail term of six months or N20,000 in lieu.
“The Executive Order also provides that any gathering of more than 50 persons anywhere in the state is an offense. The conveners of such gatherings also risk six months jail or N20, 000 in lieu.
“All hotels, eateries, supermarkets and stores are by this order compelled to provide hand sanitizers, wash hand stands, test the temperature of their customers and insist on face masks before admitting them into their premises.
“Any store, supermarket, eatery, night club and hotel that fails to adhere to these rules will be promptly shut down. In addition, the proprietors will be prosecuted.
“These measures equally apply to all religious gatherings, marriages and funerals. If it is clear from the realities on ground that extra or more stringent measures must be taken to keep our people safe, I will have no choice but to authorize a second lockdown in the state.
“For those who still don’t believe that coronavirus is real, may I announce to you that this second wave is not only real but deadly. Let us be guided accordingly,” he concluded.