Nigerian Govt introduces more restrictive measures as COVID-19 cases soar

Nigerian Govt introduces more restrictive measures as COVID-19 cases soar

Monday, December 21, 2020 9:47 pm

FILE: Chairman of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr Boss Mustapha at a COVID-19 news conference in Abuja.

Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja

Nigerian Government on Monday introduced more restrictive measures as the country continue to record more cases of COVID-19.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the national body saddled with the task of coordinating the management and response to the virus in the country, told journalists in Abuja that epidemiology records confirm that Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, similar to occurrence in other countries across the world.

According to PTF, Lagos, Kaduna and the FCT have emerged as the new epicentres of the second wave of the infection with over 70% of all confirmed cases.

It also noted that Nigeria is now recording higher Test Positivity Rate (TPR) – the number of positive cases detected as a proportion of all tests).

“The TPR was below 5% through September and October and we recorded a low point of 3% nationally in late October 2020.

However, recent trends in cases have seen this number increase to 10% in the second week of December,” PTF said at the briefing addressed by Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF who is also its chairman.

To curb the increase, the Presidential Task Force directed all Federal Government workers on grade level 12 and below to stay at home for the next five weeks while all schools are to remain close until January 18th, 2020.

It also said virtual meetings should be encouraged in all government offices, stressing that “Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executives are to be held accountable for enforcing NPI rules in their domains with frequent spot checks.”

Mustapha said the closure of the schools is to allow the COVID-19 prevention measures introduced to take effect in the learning institutions.

“All persons above the age of 60yrs and/or with comorbidities are to be encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds,” the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) added.

“All non-essential travels – both domestic and international during the holiday season are seriously discouraged.”

The task force also imposed restrictions on recreational centres and night clubs across the country.

“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,” Mustapha noted while lamenting the flouting of COVID-19 protocols by Nigerians, mostly youths.

It also asked all restaurants to close, except those providing services to hotel residents, takeaways, home deliveries, and drive-ins.

According to Nigeria Centre For Disease Control since the beginning of the outbreak in February, more than 874,617 samples have been tested, out of which 78,434 were positive.

The agency said that the country recorded three additional deaths in the last 24 hours, raising the overall total in the nation since the start of the  pandemic to 1,221.

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari has authorised the PTF to engage with the states and FCT to deploy legal structures and resources, including enforcement, to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.

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