President Muhammadu Buhari has given the nod to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to embark on another round of partial lockdown as the number of infections in the country has taken an upward swing.
The Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, announced this on Monday at a briefing of the body in Abuja.
Mustapha said prominent among services the President agreed should be shut down in conjunction with the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory are night clubs and eateries among others.
He said: “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:
“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:
“Close All bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues;
“Close all restaurants except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins shall remain closed;
“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;
“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.
“Where more than 50 persons are attending, any such events, the gathering should be held outdoors only;
“Public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50% of their capacity in compliance with social distancing rules.
“Enforce compliance with NPI protocols especially the advisory on wearing of face masks in public spaces;
“To reduce overcrowding in public spaces, markets, shopping centres, offices and schools States are advised to implement the following:
“Encourage virtual meetings in government Offices. The leadership of such offices are to ensure that all offices are well-ventilated offices, and encourage staff to work from home where possible;
“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;
“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;
“All persons above the age of 60yrs and/or with comorbidities are to be encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds;
“All non-essential travels – both domestic and international during the holiday season are seriously discouraged;
“To strengthen risk communication and community engagement activities over the next 5 weeks, States are encouraged to;
“Engage community and religious leaders, arrange town hall meetings (ideally set outdoors) to address concerns;
“Intensify public messaging activities, leveraging on existing government and partner assets;
c. Reach out to youths and younger adults with health promotion activities;
d. Invest in local face mask purchase and distribution to the general public to encourage use.
“Where applicable, the PTF shall also implement these authorisations. For example, it shall work with the Nigeria Immigration Service to impose sanctions on all in-bound travellers who violated the travel protocols and endangered the lives of their loved ones and other citizens by refusing to take the post-arrival test.
“The PTF will similarly work with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to implement aspects related to the Public Service.
“A lot of discussion is still going on around the calls for the restriction of international travels due to the discovery of new strains of the virus in certain countries. The PTF, Aviation and health authorities including the WHO, are assessing the situation closely and would take a position as soon as cogent scientific basis are established. The protection of Nigerians remains our primary concern and we reassure Nigerians of our resolve not to relent.”