Nigerian federal government, through the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 has reviewed the country’s response to the pandemic in view of declining number of cases.
Mr Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the committee and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said on Wednesday in a statement in Abuja that the decision followed reduced risk of importation of new variants.
He said the decision was also due to availability of vaccines and increasing number of people vaccinated in Nigeria and globally.
Mustapha said the social restriction recommendations were revised in line with the three established thematic areas – movement, industry and labour, as well as community activities.
The SGF stated that the safety protocols provide a baseline from which state governments could further build on to strengthen their responses based on their local circumstances.
“States should continue to consider them as the minimum guidelines required to ensure acceptable level of epidemic control nationwide,” he stated.
He said there were no more formal restrictions on movement within the country as the nationwide curfew imposed from midnight to 4 a.m. had been lifted.
He added that the advisory limiting Nigerians to essential travels had been lifted, although citizens need to refrain from non-essential movements and comply with non-pharmaceutical guidelines such as the mandatory use of facemask/facial coverings in public, given the risks involved.
“Use of face mask to be mandatory for indoor activities but at individual’s discretion during outdoor activities.
“Those aged 60 and above or with co-morbidities such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease are advised to uphold the use of universal precaution which includes the use of face mask, avoid crowd and frequent use of hand sanitisers,” he added.
According to him, no limitation on air travels – both domestic and international flights; but both international and domestic travellers must abide by existing protocols, including the use of face mask while onboard and taking personal precaution measures.
He stated that all arriving international passengers must register with the Nigeria International Travel Portal (https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng) and abide by the travel guidelines.
“No limitations on inter or intra-state travel; all vendors and service providers must abide by stated stipulations from Federal Ministry of Transportation; all passengers and commuters must wear face masks once on board, as well as continue to observe personal precautionary measures.”
In the area of industry and labour, the SGF recommended virtual meetings by offices for the private sector and advised against large meetings and asked operators to decongest offices and ensure they were well-ventilated.
According to him, normal work by all staff should resume in all offices, while encouraging measures to reduce congestion such as working from home or on-and-off days.
The chairman suggested mandatory use of face masks in closed offices and recommended safety protocols for all persons and discretionary use of appropriate measures.
He, however, asked operators to encourage the use of approved Ag-Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) as recommended in the Guidance for the Use of Approved COVID-19 Ag-RDTs in Nigeria.