Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

There is mounting concerns in Bayelsa State over the readiness of the government and the people to work together to stop an outbreak of COVID-19 in the state.

Governor Douye Diri had recently ordered a partial lockdown of the state to prevent any infected person from entering the state without detection and to stop an outbreak.

Recent investigations, however, point to the fact that the state is at great risk of an outbreak owning to the attitude of security operatives allegedly collecting bribe at the border points and clearing passengers without proper screening by the health personnel.

Also influential Bayelsans have been fingered in security reports that point that they refused to subject themselves to screening at the border point in the states.

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The attitude of the influential Bayelsans had drew the ire of the technical adviser to the governor on security, Mr Boma Spero-Jack who is believed to have reported the refusal of influential Bayelsans to subject themselves to screening as a major challenge to the prevention of the pandemic in the state.

The state task force on COVID-19 is also very worried about the allegation of bribery at the border points and has tabled recommendations for more stringent actions.

Checks indicated that another major concern is the flouting of the social distancing policy in the four major markets in Yenagoa namely Swali, Kpansia, Opolo and Tombia.

The relaxation of the lockdown order for Easter celebration by Governor Douye Diri has also triggered flouting of the social distancing policy as many churches compromised on the directive on the number of worshippers; even bars opened in the state with people disregarding social distancing policy.

Sources said several complaints had been sent to the state task force on the flouting of the social distancing; they are expected to act to restore public confidence in the ability of the government to stop an outbreak in Bayelsa.