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COVID-19: FG announces further extension of lockdown, PTF chairman says Nigeria is not ready for full re-opening of economy

President Muhammadu Buhari addressing the nation of COVID-19. March 29, 2020: Photo source; Presidency

MON, MAY 18 2020-theG&BJournal- The chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha said Monday that any relaxation of the current measures in place for the containment of the COVID-19 spread in the country will only portend grave danger for our populace.

‘’Advisedly, the current phase of eased restriction will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued, Mustapha said, adding that ‘’the reality is that in spite of the modest progress made, Nigeria is not yet ready for full opening of the economy, and tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority,’’ he said.

The PTF Chairman said the two-week extension of phase One of the eased restriction is also to enable other segments of the economy prepare adequately for compliance with guidelines, preparatory to reopening in the coming weeks.

‘’For the PTF, we share your pains but our future is in the hands of every Nigerian and future decisions will depend greatly on our compliance.

The PTF boss outlined new measures approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to include:

-the measures, exemptions, advisories and scope of entities allowed to reopen under phase one of the eased lockdown, shall be maintained across the federation for another two-weeks effective from 12 midnight today (18th May 2020 to 1st June, 2020)

-intensifying efforts to tell, (communicate), trace, (identify) and treat (manage) cases

-elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions

-maintain the existing lockdown order in Kano for an additional two weeks

-imposition of precise lockdown in states, or in metropolitan/high-burden Local Government Areas, that are reporting a rapidly increasing number of cases, when the need arises. This would be complemented with provision of palliatives and continued re-evaluation of impact of the interventions, and

Aggressive scale up of efforts to ensure that communities are informed, engaged and participating in the response with enhanced public awareness in high risk states.

The SGF said the PTF shall engage with the States on the effective implementation of these guidelines.

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