By Auta Obadiah Dauda

In the effort to curtail the spread of the coronavirus in the state, the Kaduna State Government has extended the lockdown with two weeks.

This was contained in a state broadcast by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarebe, on Tuesday, 26th May, 2020

Dr. Balarabe noted that the people of Kaduna state has endured many inconveniences as they complied with 60 days quarantine order imposed on the state from 26th March to 26th April.

After 60 days, the state government has reviewed the Quarantine Orders. The Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has approved the recommendation to extend the partial lockdown regulations for two weeks, with adjustments to permit the reopening of certain sectors.

This week, the relaxation of movement will be effected on Wednesday and Thursday.

From Monday, 1st June 2020, the revised regulations will come into effect. They give citizens a three-day window every week to shop for food and other essentials. Until otherwise stated, the lockdown-free days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Temporary neighbourhood markets will continue to operate from 10am to 4pm on these three days, but citizens can move from 6am to 6pm on these lockdown-free days. Informal markets are not allowed and those flouting regulations by turning streets into markets are advised to stop.

The adjusted orders also expand the ability of citizens to resume the pursuit of livelihoods, in permitted sectors subject to compliance with health and safety protocols, including physical distancing. Private sector firms that meet these requirements will also operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. This window also allows vulcanisers, welders, mechanics and providers of similar services to operate on the same days.

However, the prohibition of interstate and intercity travel remains. Government officials and mobile courts will enforce this ban to prevent people from spreading the virus through non-essential movement. In addition, the nighttime curfew that has been enforced across the state still remains, from 6pm to 6am.

Schools, places of worship and markets will remain closed under the adjusted orders. The relevant government officials and agencies will be engaging with religious leaders, transport unions, traditional institutions, market unions, school proprietors and other stakeholders as may be identified from time to time, to discuss the conditions and circumstances for a safe reopening of these sectors.

Restaurants will be allowed to open strictly to offer takeaway services. However, bars, sporting venues and event centres remain closed as are hotels that have not specifically licensed as essential service providers during this period.

Kaduna State has so far conducted 1900 tests and had recorded a total of 189 Covid-19 cases as at 25th May 2020. Ideally, the state would prefer to conduct so many more tests, but we are constrained by a host of factors. During the two-week extension, the state will continue to expand its public health response, including testing capacity. The MoH Team will continue to conduct more tests in identified hotspots.

The public sector will also use the two-week extension to prepare for limited resumption. Heads of Ministries, Department and Agencies will ensure that government offices are reconfigured for physical distancing and that handwashing facilities are available.

The state government will continue to support low income, poor and vulnerable households/residents with some food. In the first phase, food palliatives were distributed in nine local government areas. The second phase of distribution is going on in 14 local government areas. I wish to assure citizens that we would launch the third phase of food distribution to cover all the 23 local government areas as soon as possible.

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