The Presidential Task Force PTF on the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic has said the process of reopening the economy would span a period of six weeks.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF and Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this during Wednesday’s daily press briefing by the task force in Abuja, also announced a new set of protocols and guidelines to be observed by Nigerians.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, last Monday, announced modulations to the measures to be observed by citizens as part of the efforts to break the chain of the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Part of the new measures announced by the President were the gradual easing of the restriction on movement in Lagos and Ogun States as well as Abuja; imposition of night curfew across the country and other restrictive measures.
However, the PTF has issued new, as well as reviewed regulations which would guide Nigerians through this period and help in observing the instructed measures.
According to Mustapha, all Nigerians would be expected, as from Monday, May 4, 2020, to stay home, observing late night curfew from 8pm to 6am; no one would be expected to travel outside his current state of location to any other part of the country.
“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 6 weeks broken into 3 tranches of 2 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 e.g market associations and transport unions for orderly and effective implementation. Similarly, I want to emphasise the need for the security agencies to strictly enforce these new measures that have been put in place.
“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. Specific details will be provided shortly by the National Coordinator.
“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, 4th of May, 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;
“The Management of various offices, premises and businesses that will be gradually re-opened are mandated to ensure that the following preparatory steps are taken:
a. Fumigation and decontamination,
b. Arrangement made for physical distancing;
c. Provision of hand sanitizers and hand washing facilities;
d. Application of the policy on mandatory use of face masks;
e. Provision of thermometers for temperature checks;
f. Consideration must be given to persons living with disabilities while making all these arrangements;
g. Increased communication with staff on COVID-19 and measures put in place; and
h. Any other measure that may be peculiar for the organisations and/or sector;
“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;
Mandatory temperature checks will be conducted in public places; 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.
“State Governments in collaboration with Security Agencies and relevant trade associations are strongly advised to ensure that these measures are strictly enforced;
“I must emphasise once more that the easing of restrictions and introduction of revised measures do not amount to the end of this battle against COVID-19. Indeed, it signifies the need for more vigilance and stringent compliance so that we are not lulled into complacence capable of diminishing the progress we have made so far”, he explained.
On the programme the PTF had for the Kano State situation, Mustapha said the public health experts sent to the state had already commenced its work by evaluating the situation, adding that the two tertiary institutions’ laboratories in the state had been deployed and would improve response efforts.
“In furtherance of tackling the situation in Kano, 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.
“I am pleased to also inform you that the operationalization of the laboratories in Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and Bayero University Kano, will considerably improve our response to the pandemic in Kano State. Additionally, fifty trucks of assorted grains have been sent to Kano and due for delivery within the next 48 hours”, he said.
He also revealed plans to encourage local research into possible answers to tackling the pandemic in the country, both medically and pharmaceutically.
“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 said.
He also revealed that the PTF received more aids from religious organisations; pointing out a N10 million donation by the Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship International -Nigeria as well as the donation of assorted food items by the Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria.