COVID-19: Easing lockdown takes 6 weeks – SGF
From Atiku Sarki, Abuja
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha has disclosed that the gradual easing of the lockdown will take six weeks broken into three tranches of two weeks each.
He made the disclosure during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 in Abuja.
He explained that this phased strategy is designed to reduce the pains of socio-economic disruptions while strengthening the public health response.
He said: “In line with Mr. President’s directive in paragraphs 38-41 of his broadcast, the PTF has developed sector specific guidelines. The gradual reopening of the economy will span a total of six weeks broken into three tranches of two weeks each.
“This phased strategy is designed to reduce the pains of socio-economic disruptions while strengthening our public health response, which would ultimately reduce the recovery of our economy and provide succour to the poor and vulnerable.
“To underscore the collaborative efforts with Sub-National levels of government, they are encouraged to provide leadership in engaging relevant associations responsible for various sectors like market associations and transport unions for orderly and effective implementation.”
The SGF, who is also the chairman PTF, stressed the need for the security agencies to strictly enforce these new measures that have been put in place.
Mustapha further explained that following the pronouncement of the president, it has become necessary to provide initial clarifications for Nigerians on some of the new measures such as the overnight curfew, inter-state travels and related matters.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the following clarifications, are provided: The overnight curfew is applicable nationwide from 8.00pm to 06.00am daily, effective Monday, May 4th, 2020.
“Inter-state travels are banned except for the movement of goods, agro-products, petroleum products, essential services, etc such as directed by Mr. President,” he said.
He said the management of various offices, premises and businesses that would be gradually re-opened are mandated to ensure that the following preparatory steps are taken.
He listed the steps to include fumigation and decontamination, arrangement made for physical distancing; provision of hand sanitizers and hand washing facilities and application of the policy on mandatory use of face masks.
Others are provision of thermometers for temperature checks; consideration must be given to persons living with disabilities while making all these arrangements, increased communication with staff on COVID-19 and measures put in place and any other measure that may be peculiar for the organisations and/or sector.
Also included are mass gathering of more than 20 people outside of a workplace is strictly prohibited; controlled access to neighborhood markets and locations of economic activities will be enforced and mandatory temperature checks will be conducted in public places.
The rest are social distancing of 2 metres to be maintained between people in workplaces and other public places; all passenger flights remain under ban and mandatory supervised isolation of persons arriving from outside the country for at least 14 days.
He added that state governments, in collaboration with security agencies and relevant trade associations, are strongly advised to ensure that these measures are strictly enforced.
He pointed out that it signifies the need for more vigilance and stringent compliance so that the nation would not lull into complacence capable of diminishing the progress so far made.
In furtherance of tackling the situation in Kano, Mustapha said the technical team of public health experts sent by the PTF has begun the evaluation of the situation in the state, working in collaboration with the state’s team.
He stated: “I am pleased to also inform you that the operationalization of the laboratories in Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) and Bayero University, Kano (BUK), will considerably improve our response to the pandemic in Kano State.
“Additionally, 50 trucks of assorted grains have been sent to Kano and due for delivery within the next 48 hours.
“The PTF appreciates the cooperation of the Governor
Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and the medical team in Kano State.
On research for a vaccine in the country, he said: “I need to, at this point, mention the role of research in this exercise. We must encourage our local scientists and deepen our capacity for research.
“There is a huge role for all relevant research institutes to play at this time. The Federal Ministry of Health is coordinating the process in conjunction with the National Institute for Medical Research and the Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development.
“We have received information on domestic and international claims about emerging inventions on COVID-19. These are most welcome but scientific validation process and protocols will have to be followed. We are open to all options for the good of humanity,” he stated.