Federal government has yesterday extended the ease of lockdown in the country by another four weeks, declaring that coronavirus was now in 536 of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria. The government also emphasized its readiness to reopen the nation’s airspace for international flights in ‘a matter of weeks’.
Consequently, it said the limitation on mass gatherings, 10pm to 4pm curfew, and virtual holding of government meetings remain intact, and noted that in the last month, 10 states and the FCT recorded over 1, 000 confirmed cases, an increase from four.
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed these at yesterday’s briefing of the taskforce, lamenting the level of non-compliance with non-pharmaceutical prevention measures; and lack of enforcement of stipulated guidelines issued to preserve lives.
He said: “Community transmission is increasing, as reflected in the fact that 536 Local Government Areas – 69 per cent of the total – have reported a COVID-19 case. “To sustain gains already made, therefore, the PTF recommended to the President the retention of the current phase of the response with minor changes to address economic, socio-political and health concerns. ‘’These measures are further outlined in the guidelines to be elaborated upon by the national coordinator. It is, however, important to inform you that the major changes being proposed are aimed at achieving the following: Gradual re-opening of international air flights within established parameters.
‘’Re-opening of rail transportation within established parameters; granting permission to exit classes to resume ahead of examinations; allowing civil servants from Grade Level 12 to resume work; and opening recreational parks for supervised exercises.
“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; partnering with states and local governments to improve community sensitisation and engagement to the COVID-19 response.
‘’Mandating state authorities and the FCT to enforce non-pharmaceutical guidelines, primarily the use of face masks in public appearance and places; encouraging state governments to collaborate with Local Government Authorities to intensify necessary measures, such as contact-tracing, grassroots mobilisation and risk communication; and strengthening of collaboration with other mandate groups at federal/state levels to harmonise the country’s COVID-19 response on short, medium and long-term basis.’’