Worried by the second wave of the COVID19 pandemic in Nigeria, the Presidential Taskforce on COVID19 has announced new restrictions to help in curtailing the spread of the novel virus.
The new restrictions which were announced at the briefing of the taskforce’s briefing today December 21, include a stay-at-home order for all government workers on Grade Level 12 and below for the next five weeks.
The PTF also ordered the closure of schools till January 18 while all bars, night clubs, and recreational centers are to be closed. The PTF also announced restrictions on social events and religious gatherings till further notice. Weddings and other social events are to be reduced to not more than 50 guests. Social events with more than 50 guests are expected to be done outside.
The chairman of the taskforce, Boss Mustapha, while announcing the new measures, said
”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.
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.”
Furthermore, Mustapha said that to reduce overcrowding in public spaces such as markets, shopping centres, offices and schools, states are advised to implement the following:
a. 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;
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”