COVID-19: Nigeria imposes fresh restrictions over ‘second wave’ of coronavirus

The federal government has imposed fresh restrictions on Nigeria over what health policymakers describe as the second wave of coronavirus infections.

The new restrictions will last for five weeks, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 said on Monday, the same day it submitted its end of the year report to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“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,” PTF chair and government secretary Boss Mustapha said

He then announced restrictions on activities considered as “super-spreader events”.

Here are the restrictions and guidelines:

  • Close all bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues
  • Close all restaurants, except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries
  • Drive-ins shall remain closed
  • 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
  • All gatherings linked to religious events are limited to less than 50 per cent capacity of the facility
  • Mandatory use of face masks
  • Maintenance of physical distancing
  • Where more than 50 persons are attending, any such events, the gathering should be held outdoors only
  • Public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50 per cent of their capacity
  • Enforce compliance with NPI protocols, especially the advisory on wearing of face masks, in public spaces
  • To reduce overcrowding in public spaces, markets, shopping centres, offices and schools, states are advised to implement the following: Encourage virtual meetings in government offices. The leadership of such offices should ensure that all offices are well-ventilated offices, and encourage staff to work from home where possible
  • 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
  • All persons above the age of 60 years and/or with comorbidities are to be encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds
  • All non-essential travels – both domestic and international – during the holiday season are seriously discouraged
  • To strengthen risk communication and community engagement activities over the next five weeks, states are encouraged to; engage community and religious leaders, arrange town hall meetings (ideally set outdoors) to address concerns
  • Intensify public messaging activities, leveraging existing government and partner assets; reach out to youths and younger adults with health promotion activities
  • Invest in local face mask purchase and distribution to the general public to encourage usage
  • The PTF will work with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to implement aspects related to the Public Service
  • A lot of discussions is still going on around the calls for the restriction of international travels due to the discovery of new strains of the virus in certain countries
  • The PTF, Aviation and health authorities, including the WHO, are assessing the situation closely and would take a position as soon as a cogent scientific basis is established
  • The protection of Nigerians remains our primary concern and we reassure Nigerians of our resolve not to relent.

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