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The Benue State House of Assembly has passed the State Highly Infectious Diseases (Emergency, Prevention and Management) Bill, 2020.

The clauses were considered in committee of the whole chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Christopher Adaji. House Committee Chairman Health and Human Services, Joseph Okponya, led the debate.

Okponya explained that it would prevent and contain the spread of highly infectious diseases such as coronavirus. The bill issues regulations and guidelines to residents and informs them of the necessity of screening, testing and isolation.

It encapsulates restriction of movements of people, events, gatherings, commercial activities; prohibits hoarding of foodstuffs, drugs and other essential supplies.

The bill imposes restrictions on transportation, storage and disposal of COVID-19 victims and cautions against the transmission and spread of false information regarding the pandemic.

“It also aims at empowering and providing legal backing to the initiatives, activities and efforts of the Chief Executive Officer of the state, which is the Governor as well as the frontline health workers and practitioners that are directly involved in combating infectious diseases,” Okponya explained.

The State governor would be empowered to establish health service posts in the entries and exits of Benue or other parts to curb the spread of highly infectious diseases.


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