The Bayelsa Government on Sunday ordered compulsory use of face masks by residents as part of efforts to curb the spread of the novel  coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ravaging the world.

Dr Inodu Apoku, Chairman, State Task Force on COVID-19 Implementation Committee, told newsmen in Yenagoa that the use of face masks became necessary to ensure that the virus does not spread in the state.

Apoku, also the Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Health, urged residents to prioritise their health by using face masks in public places.

“This initiative is in line with the directives handed down by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and is aimed at checking the spread of the disease in the country.

“We all have been witnessing the rise in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the country in the past few days.

“This is clearly attributed to the refusal of people not adhering to the preventive measures prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Federal and state governments.

“In view of this rise, even though we have not recorded any case in the state, we advise that everyone should take responsibility by applying the safety protocols which will ultimately contain the pandemic.

“Once again, we advise residents to apply personal hygiene such as frequent hand washing and maintain social distancing as a way of avoiding being infected with the virus and breaking the transmission,” he said. (NAN)