Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has told Rivers people to live with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and its consequences until an effective vaccine is discovered.
The state, he told newsmen yesterday in Port Harcourt, might be compelled to reinstate relaxed measures, soon, if people continued to flout established regulations on social distancing and the compulsory wearing of face masks.
Wike regretted that Rivers had painfully lost 12 persons, and probably more, to COVID-19.
According to him, the loss of any life is a monumental tragedy, not only to the immediate families, to humanity.
“We pray for the success of the global search for vaccines and therapeutics; but until then, the responsibility is still on every one of us to strictly and effectively comply with the established mitigating measures,” he said.
The governor regretted that government had observed that the advisories, directives and regulations on social distancing and the compulsory wearing of face masks are being ignored at alarming proportions in the state, much to the collective discomfort and peril of all.
“Those who continue to exhibit or encourage such callous behaviours or trivialise the fatal power of this virus or still live in denial of its existence are either insane or the worst enemies of mankind,” he said.
Wike threatened to bring the full weight of the law to bear on every recalcitrant person, business or institution, irrespective of status or station, who decides to treat the existing orders and regulations for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the state with contempt.
Meanwhile, Wike has kicked off a free bus scheme with the aim of cushioning the effect of the pandemic in the state.
The first phase of the scheme had 28 Coaster buses with over 20 drivers that are expected to ply routes to Oyigbo, Eleme and Obio Akpor councils.
Akelicious gathered that the ticket to enjoy the free ride is the face mask.
Each of the buses has one driver and two bus assistants, who must maintain physical distancing in the buses.
The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, and his transport counterpart, Sam Ejekwu, enjoyed a ride together in one of the buses shortly after the scheme was flagged off yesterday.
But residents have lamented high transport fares since the enforcement of physical distancing in vehicles.
Some residents noted that transporters hike the fares since the state government began enforcement of physical distancing in commercial vehicles.
The development brought further hardship among the people, as some were seen trekking long distances to avoid the extra pay.