THE Anambra State Government has been urged to deploy COVID-19 testing kits in all the major markets in the state to enable the traders, market leaders ascertain their COVID-19 status as a way of forestalling the threat of closure of markets and borders in the state.
Worried about the impact of another closure of the markets, the traders regarded the reopening of the markets by the state governor, Willie Obiano as a rescue mission “otherwise many of us would have died of hunger virus.”
To buttress their readiness to kick start the testing of their members, the leadership of various major markets in the state disclosed that they have procured infrared thermometers, and employed health workers to test customers and visitors to the markets at every entry point.
Speaking to journalists on Monday, in their different markets, the leaders outlined that the health workers and the vigilance operatives direct the visitors to wash and sanitize their hands, have their body temperature checked before they are allowed into the market.
They believe that with testing kits in the markets, the traders and their customers would be compelled to ascertain their status, which they argue was a better option than another closure of markets as a way of curtailing the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The market leaders who spoke to newsmen in their various markets pointed out that, “the conditions the state government gave us for re-opening the market were the procurement of the infrared thermometer, provision of wash hand buckets, use of face masks and setting up a task force to enforce compliance.”
They claimed that they have been enforcing the compliance as agreed with the state government.
“The governor cares for the well-being of traders and anybody who refuses to adopt the preventive measures is on a suicide mission and we will not allow such a person here.”
They explained that they have advised customers outside the state to resort to placing order for goods to avoid the taskforce handing them over to National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) for quarantine.
The Chairman of Stockfish Market, Celestine Ezewulu disclosed that his market was the first to build permanent hand washing facilities, employed health workers and mass produced sanitizers which was sold to members, at a subsidized rate while they shared palliatives worth millions of naira to indigent traders and customers.
Head of the Bridge head market, Sunday Obinze lauded the governor’s proactive strategy in the fight against COVID-19 “and for the three testing centers in Anambra.
He called for house to house testing as a way of convincing people of the COVID-19.
The Chairman of Odekpe Plastic Market, Mr Obinna Okoli urged the governor to provide the market with the transformer he promised during his election campaigns and praised him for the lockdown, because “ the pandemic didn’t hit Anambra as other states.“
Chairmen of various markets called on government to open the state borders due the increasing cost of haulage, while noting that “the cost of doing business has increased by over 50 percent.”
Health workers testing visitors with infrared thermometers at the market gates.