Amid widespread complaint among citizens that certain security personnel were taking advantage of COVID-19 restrictions to unduly extort the people, the Delta State Government yesterday said that it was relaxing the dusk to dawn curfew imposed on the state in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, the 329 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in Nigeria yesterday, took the number of confirmed cases to 48,445 with 35,998 discharged and 973 deaths.

The Delta State Government also announced the restoration of the traditional market days across all the 25 local government areas of the state even as government insisted that restrictions on operations of certain businesses and public gatherings would remain in force towards checking the spread of the virus in the state.

“Delta State Government has adjusted the curfew earlier imposed in the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic from the earlier period of 7:00p.m. to 6:00a.m. to a new period of 10:00p.m. to 5:30a.m.,” the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Chiedu Ebie, said in a statement in Asaba on Thursday.

The state government, however, maintained a rigid stance against the reopening of certain public business places including cinemas, clubs and beer parlours, warning of severe repercussions for defaulters.

The statement, which appealed to the people “to continue to adhere strictly to all the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines,” also announced the lifting of restrictions on different local market days introduced in the wake of the Coronavirus.

“Furthermore, Government has approved the resumption of normal trading activities in all markets across the 25 local government areas of the state.

“However, cinemas, bars in hotels and beer parlours remain closed while restaurants and eateries are to continue to serve their customers on take-away basis, even as Government would not hesitate to shut them down if they are observed to be in breach of the COVID-19 safety guidelines,”,the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Executive Assistant to the Government on Communication, Dr. Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe, has appealed to the people to consider as necessary sacrifice and patriotic duty their adherence to the executive order from Governor Ifeanyi Okowa vis-a-vis the COVID-19 protocols prescribed by the WHO and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The governor’s aide, while calling for united prayer and action, urged the citizens to complement government’s concerted efforts by taking individual and collective responsibility for obeying executive order by ensuring that measures put in place to check and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 are observed as a patriotic duty.