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FG shuts down schools, restrict churches, mosques, others activities

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

As part of the measure to contain coronavirus second wave in Nigeria, the Federal Government shutdown schools across the country till January 18, 2021 and ordered that religious house not to exceed 50 percent capacity of the venue.

The apex government has also ordered total closure of all bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, even as it restricted guests at weddings, conferences, and sporting activities among others to 50 persons when held within a closed space and open venue for more guests.

Also, the central government has directed that commercial transport operators should only carry passengers not more than 50 percent of their capacity in compliance with social distancing rules.

These and others were protocols approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, as measures to curtail the further spread of COVID-19 across the country.

Announcing the measures, the chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, who disclosed these on Monday at a press briefing of the task force in Abuja, added that the PTF would be engaging state governors to ensure compliance across the country.

“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”.

Mustapha said that the new protocols were adopted after a thorough evaluation of the virus spread in the country which indicated that Nigeria was currently experiencing the COVID-19 second wave that had forced other countries to shut down their economy.

He noted that to prevent such, the government has decided that efforts would be intensified particularly measures that can flatten the virus curve in Nigeria.

According to him,  the PTF has concluded arrangements with the Nigeria Immigration Service to impose sanctions on in-bound travellers that have breached the public health protocols, within ambit of the law.

“You will also recall that the PTF established the Nigeria International Travel Portal for the control of possible importation of the virus. Statistics show that a good percentage of in-bound travellers have breached the travel protocols thereby making surveillance and testing suffer undue setbacks. The following statistics will be of interest.

“As at date, 163,818 inbound travellers have been captured on the portal; Out of this number, 77,025 (47%) made payment for post-arrival testing; 64,405 (84%) of the number are due for post-arrival test; Out of 44,189 (69%) that were due for a post-arrival test, 44,189 representing (59%) of those tested; and 20,216 (31%) have not shown up for post-arrival test thereby endangering members of the community and breaching the protocols they signed up to”.

Aside from this measure, the chairman said: “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;

“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;

“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

“Public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50 percent of their capacity in compliance with social distancing rules”.

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