Breaking! FG extends COVID-19 lockdown for another four weeks

FG begins the process of restarting international flights

In order to continue to curtail the spread of dreaded COVID 19 pandemic, the Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the retention of phased two eased lockdown protocols. 

This phase has been extended for another four weeks. The Chairman of Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made the announcement at Thursday’s briefing.He said it is important to ensure that restrictions are not completely relaxed in order to control transmission of the virus. 

Mustapha announced major changes in the revised guidelines to include 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.

He said assessment has revealed that despite the guidelines, there is inncreased non-compliance with non-pharmaceutical prevention measures; Lack of enforcement of necessary guidelines issued to preserve lives; Insufficient engagement by some states with the national response; and A lingering concern about the gap between identified cases and the actual burden of disease; and Apathy, fatigue and disbelief combining to challenge public enlightenment, compliance and behaviour change.

The SGF said: “To address these challenges and continue improving our National Response to eventually win the fight against the pandemic, the PTF reached the conclusion that for Nigeria, it is important to ensure that restrictions are not completely relaxed in order to control transmission. It is also important that at this Community Transmission Phase of the pandemic, sub-national governments step up to take more responsibilities by owning the response.

“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 the short, medium and long-term basis.”

Mustpha reminded Nigerians that “this fight is for every one and that you must take responsibility. Disbelief and skepticism will further complicate our situation and we should not stigmatize anyone infected. Our Communities should own the response and educate our citizens.”