The Akwa Ibom State Government has declared that henceforth, “no facemask, no trading” for both buyers and sellers in all markets across the state.

This means that with effect from Thursday, June 25, 2020, only buyers and sellers with face masks, would gain access to markets in the state.

The Secretary to the State Government and Chairman, Akwa Ibom State COVID-19 Management Committee, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, announced this during a meeting with leaders of traders associations across the state, Wednesday, in Uyo.

Dr. Ekuwem said the meeting became necessary following increasing reports of attempts by some suspected COVID-19 cases to infiltrate Akwa Ibom from neighbouring states.

Such infiltration, he added, exposes Akwa Ibom people to more danger of the contagion, hence the need to adopt more stringent preventive measures.

He declared that every trader bringing wares into any market to sell and every buyer coming into the market to buy must be checked at the entrance to ensure their use of the facemask.

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Dr. Ekuwem urged the traders’ leaders to live up to expectations in line with the confidence repose in them by the State Government, by ensuring enforcement of the “no facemask no trading” policy in their respective markets.

“Whoever does not wear a facemask should not come into the market; whether the person is a buyer or a seller, with effect from tomorrow”.

Ekuwem said Governor Emmanuel being at the forefront of the fight against the scourge of Coronavirus has earned a range of accolades for Akwa Ibom State through his display of political will through enormous investments in the health sector.

This, he said, will be more effective if traders’ leaders cooperate with government to ensure that behaviours that aid community transmission of the virus are checked.

“Make sure that, in your local markets, nobody comes in there to either sell or buy, without a facemask, because we cannot afford to have mass community transmission of COVID-19”, Ekuwem charged.

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The State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Udoh, on his part, stressed the need to sustain high level of personal hygiene to stay safe in the face of the pandemic.

Udoh harped on hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, proper use of facemask, washing and ironing of the fabric masks and non-repetition of the disposable masks and observance of social distancing as new the normal that must be upheld for personal safety.

Responding on behalf of the trader leaders, the President, Akwa Ibom State Traders Association and Special Assistant to the Governor on Traders’ Matters, Akparawa Idorenyin Raphael, assured that efforts to enforce the use of facemasks and other regulation will be intensified, in line with new demands by the state government.

Akparawa Raphael disclosed that the various market associations are set to launch “Operation No Facemask, No Entry” from Thursday, June 25.