In view of the threat Nigeria may face with the second wave of coronavirus, the Federal Government has approved fresh measures to curtail the further spread of COVID-19 across the country.
The chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at a press briefing of the task force in Abuja last Monday. His words:
“The PTF has surveyed developments and actions taken by governments around the world, assessed our domestic environment, and has accordingly submitted its recommendations to Mr. President on immediate measures to be taken.
“Accordingly, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has authorised the PTF to engage with the states and the FCT to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.”
The PTF chairman further highlighted advisories designed to run for the next five weeks, particularly because of the yuletide season:
“In line with the authorisation, the PTF wishes to issue the following advisories to sub-national entities for implementation over the next five weeks because these activities are considered super spreader events:
a. Close All bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues;
b. Close all restaurants except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins shall remain closed;
c. Restrict all informal and formal festivity events including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end of year events shall be restricted to not more than 50 persons;
d. Limit All gatherings linked to religious events to less than 50% capacity of the facility of use during which physical distancing; mandatory use of face masks shall be strictly enforced.
e. Where more than 50 persons are attending, any such events, the gathering should be held outdoors only;
f. Public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50% of their capacity in compliance with social distancing rules.
g. Enforce compliance with NPI protocols especially the advisory on wearing of face masks in public spaces.”
In order to reduce overcrowding in public spaces, markets, shopping centres, offices, and schools, states, according to Mustapha, are advised to implement the following:
a. Encourage virtual meetings in government offices. The leadership of such offices is to ensure that all offices are well-ventilated offices, and encourage staff to work from home where possible;
b. All government staff on GL.12 and below are to stay at home for the next 5 weeks; Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executives are to be held accountable for enforcing NPI rules in their domains with frequent spot checks;
c. The PTF on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Education, expects that schools would have vacated from the 18th December 2020 and remain closed till at least the 18th of January, 2021 to enable the measures introduced to take effect;
d. All persons above the age of 60yrs and/or with comorbidities are to be encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds;
e. All non-essential travels – both domestic and international during the holiday season are seriously discouraged