Members of Nigerian Presidential Task Force on COVID-19

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Coronavirus (COVID-19) has said the nation’s economy will open in phases of two weeks each spanning a total of six weeks.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said this at the daily national briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said the phased strategy is designed to reduce the pains of socio-economic disruptions. He enthused that the period would allow the strengthening of public health response, which would reduce the recovery of the economy and provide succour to the poor and vulnerable.

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, announced a gradual and phased easing of lockdown restrictions in Lagos, Ogun and FCT, where businesses, excluding essentials, had been shut since March 29 when President Muhammadu Buhari announced a lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“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.

“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 six weeks broken into three tranches of two 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.”

The SGF said the technical team of public health experts sent by the PTF to Kano has commenced evaluation of the situation in the state.

“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.

Mustapha explained that the overnight curfew is applicable nationwide from 8 pm to 6 am daily, effective Monday, May 4.

Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said banks and public transportation will resume operations on Monday but within the confines of already released protocols and regulations.

“In terms of the banks, this continues to be a recurring issue to all of us. We have been in touch with the CBN governor, from Monday banks will open and they will open normal services from 8 am to 2 pm, so that is six hours, but there will be the usual restrictions. For instance physical distancing, the use of temperature monitors and hygiene and making sure that the capacity of the banking halls is restricted so that many people do not come together. We expect to operate as normal apart from the restrictions.

“On public transport, outside the curfew hours, buses and motor parks will be allowed to open for some hours in a day I believe from 6 am to 6 pm and taxis will also be allowed to operate. But because this is a respiratory balance infection what we are really trying to do is to limit interactions between persons. Because if you come in contact with a person who is infected, it is a highly infectious organism and we don’t want you to end up with COVID and one of the best ways of preventing transmission is to put space between you and the other person.

“So there will be regulations around reducing the numbers of passengers for instance in taxis, there will be rules around the number of hours they can operate which is why we brought in the curfew hours and also the issue of hygiene, respiratory hygiene and others.

“This is all directed towards reducing transmission which is what we are really trying to do. But we will allow some semblance of transportation to be available in the states including the FCT.”

“In addition to this, from the point of agriculture and rural development, companies involved in food processing can commence operation.

“In construction sites, the critical roads will be allowed but waivers will be provided by state governments to enable movement. For the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries, we will encourage shift work and limiting staff to only 30 to 50% to maintain social distancing and pharmacy shops may remain open overnight.”

 

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