Nigeria’s ‘gradual ease’ of lockdown extended by two weeks, FG says

Nigeria has extended the gradual ease of lockdown the country by another two weeks, the Federal Government said on Monday.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, disclosing this at the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja, said the gradual ease of lockdown as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari will remain in force for another two weeks.

The SGF, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the lockdown remains in force for another two weeks, adding that in spite of the modest progress made in the country to stem the tide of COVID-19, Nigeria was not yet ready for full opening of the economy.

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He said a “tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority, ” while also emphasising an order banning all inter-state movements.

“Any relaxation 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.

“The two weeks extension of Phase One of the eased restriction is also to enable other segments of the economy to prepare adequately for compliance with the guidelines, preparatory to reopening in the coming weeks,” Mustapha said.

President Buhari, had, on April 27, announced a “phased and gradual easing” of the lockdown in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun states, while declaring a nationwide curfew with effect from May 4.

In his Monday briefing, the SGF stated the Presidential order as follows: “Mr President has approved the following: (i) ​The measures, exemptions, advisories, and scope of entities allowed to reopen under phase one of the eased locked down, shall be maintained across the federation for another two weeks effective from 12 00 midnight today (18th May, 2020 to 1st June, 2020);

“(ii) ​intensifying efforts to ‘tell (communicate), trace (identify) and treat (manage)’ cases;

“(iii) ​elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions;

“(iv)​Maintain the existing lockdown order in Kano for an additional two weeks;

“(v)​Imposition of precision lockdown in states, or in metropolitan/high-burden LGAs, that are reporting a rapidly increasing number of cases, when the need arises. This would be complemented with the provision of palliatives and continued re-evaluation of the impact of the interventions; and

“(vi)​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.”