FG retains curfew, extends lockdown ease by four weeks

Mustapha, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19
Emeh Joy

The president of Nigeria, Major General Muhamadu Buhari (retd.), has approved the extension of the current phase of the national response to COVID-19 by another four weeks.

This ultimately means that all the guidelines that were put in place to curb the spread of the virus under phase two of the eased lockdown which commenced June 1 will remain in force.

However, there will be slight modifications to address the socio-political, economic and health concerns as contained in the report by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The Chairman of the task force who also doubles as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made this disclosure at the briefing of the task force in Abuja on Thursday.

Mustapha said that within the next four weeks, state governments and relevant authorities of the Federal Capital Territory would be mandated to enforce non-pharmaceutical measures and intensify measures such as contact tracing.

"After due consideration of the recommendations, Mr President approved the following; maintaining the current phase of the national response to COVID-19 for another four weeks in line with the modifications reflected in the report.

"He approved the partnering of states and local governments to improve community sensitisation and engagement to the COVID-19 response; and mandating state authorities and the FCT to enforce non-pharmaceutical guidelines, primarily the use of face masks in a public appearance and places".

Mustapha said the recommendations made to the president were borne out of the thorough evaluation of the Nigerian situation as well as global and regional experiences.

According to him, the major changes proposed were aimed at achieving the gradual re-opening of rail transport within established parameters, re-opening of international flights within set parameters and granting permission to exit classes to resume ahead of their exams.

It also permits civil servants from Grade level 12 to resume work while also opening up recreational parks for supervised operations.

Giving more details on the modification, the PTF National coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu said the 10 pm to 4 am curfew would remain in place nationwide even as gyms, bars and cinemas remain closed nationwide.

"Visiting of hospitalised patients remain limited to immediate family. And we continue to recommend a maximum of 20 people, including family members when it comes to the attendance of funerals and other essential gatherings such as gatherings that cannot be changed", he added.

He said a work-at-home policy is encouraged for civil/public servants below Grade level 12 even as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control works towards deploying technology to make COVID-19 test results available online.

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