John ODHE, Yenagoa
Panic buying and hike in food items lasted till midnight following the stay-at-home order by the Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, following an index case of the dreaded coronavirus recorded in the state.
TNN reports that immediately the governor made the pronouncement on Monday for a stay-at-home with effect from midnight, all markets in the state capital were besieged by panic buyers who rushed to meet up the deadline amid heavy down pour.
Prices of garri rice, beans and other essential food commodities went up astronomically as sellers took advantage of the situation to undo desperate buyers despite the advice given to residents by the governor not to panic as government was on top of the situation.
For instance, a rubber of garri which was initially sold for N700 automatically increased to N1,200 while a rubber of rice rose from N2,000 N3,500. The same were other commodities in different markets visited by our correspondent in the state capital.
As at 9am on Tuesday, the stay-at-home order had taken full effect, as all major roads such as the Melford Okilo Expressway and the lsaac Borrow Road and streets in the state capital were deserted, devoid of the normal vehicular movements.
The state governor had announced a one-week stay-at-home for residents of the state following the index COVID-19 case reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Sunday night.
Diri, who gave the directive in a state broadcast on Monday, said everyone except those on essential duties should remain at home with effect from the night of April 27 in order to effectively contain the spread of the virus in the state.
In a press release by his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, the governor said one of the five test results received for the state was positive for COVID-19, saying it was the first confirmed case in Bayelsa.
Diri described the patient as a 49-year-old female with a history of hypertension and diabetes, who presented with non-productive cough, headache, fever and chest pain within a week duration.
The governor noted that the patient, who is now clinically stable, was admitted at the Bayelsa Specialist Hospital where she was being managed for malaria and uncontrolled hypertension with queried COVID-19.
While noting that the patient had no travel history, he disclosed that she had been evacuated to the isolation centre at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital in Okolobiri for further management but that she rejected the NCDC result.