FG Okays New Measures to Curb Second Wave of COVID-19
By Ahmed Rahma
The federal government has approved the implementation of new measures to tackle the second wave of coronavirus disease in Nigeria.
These measures were approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed at a press briefing held in Abuja on Monday.
Mr Mustapha stated that parts of these measures include the reduction of guests at weddings, conferences and sporting facilities to 50.
“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, 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.
“[The closure of] all bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues.
“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 per cent 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,” Mr Mustapha, who doubles as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), announced.
He added that to reduce overcrowding in public spaces, markets, shopping centres, offices and schools, state governments are advised to encourage virtual meetings in government offices and ensure that all offices are well-ventilated offices, and encourage staff to work from home where possible.
The PTF chair also directed that 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.
In addition, he said the PTF on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Education, expects that schools would have vacated from December 18, 2020, and remain closed till at least till January 18, 2021, to enable the measures introduced to take effect.
Mr Mustapha also said all persons above the age of 60 years and/or with comorbidities are to be encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds, while all non-essential travels – both domestic and international during the holiday season are seriously discouraged;