The Akwa Ibom State government has ordered worship centres to run at half capacity with services not longer than an hour.

This was issued in response to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the state.

The Secretary to State Government, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State COVID-19 Committee, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

According to Ekuwem, “Over the past two weeks, cases of COVID-19 within the state have risen from five to 156. This increase, when considered in the light of the new Delta variant of the virus, which has now been isolated in Nigeria, calls for a renewal of our collective effort at preventing the spread of Covid-19 virus infection in our state.”

Issuing protocols for citizens to follow, he said, “Ensure social distancing of not less than one meter at all times. Avoid overcrowded areas especially indoors. All non-essential social gatherings should be reconsidered with the view to drastically reducing the scale and scope or suspending the same at this time. These include burials, weddings, birthday celebrations etc.

“Social distancing in tricycles, mini-buses and wearing of face masks are to be strictly complied with.

Religious houses (churches and mosques) should run at half capacity and services should last not more than one hour.

“Hotels, sit-outs, clubs, schools, transport companies, supermarkets, banks, pharmacies should all ensure compliance with all COVID-19 preventive measures in their facilities.

“Report any suspicious symptoms such as fever, cough, difficulty in breathing and body pains and weakness to the nearest COVID-19 facility or use the following helplines 08000275664 and 08189411111.

“All COVID-19 monitoring mechanisms are hereby reactivated to ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 guidelines and protocols.

“​We wish to note that the state molecular laboratories are fully functional and tests for COVID-19 are being done regularly. We ask you to avail yourself of this facility for your COVID-19 tests. Government shall continue to monitor the trends in the disease and take actions as may be necessary from time to time. Also, monitoring teams shall be reactivated to ensure compliance with the above directives.”