By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has announced that the national curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. remains as the phase two eased lockdown is extended by four weeks.
The Coordinator of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, said this on Thursday while speaking on the new changes in the extended phase two of eased lockdown.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that President Mohammadu Buhari approved the retention of the current phase of National response to COVID-19 for another four weeks with modifications.
Aliyu also said that the federal civil servants on Grade Level 12 and above would now resume full work hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. while the rest were to continue to stay at home.
The coordinator also gave the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) the green light to start planning its resumption for future phases after the second phase.
He said that daycare, primary, secondary, tertiary institutions remain closed, while recreational parks could open for supervised physical exercise.
He stated that only 20 people were allowed at funerals, weddings and other essential gatherings.
The coordinator said that strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols was all about behavioural change.
He said: “So that as you are aware, we are currently in phase two of the eased lockdown which started on the 1st of June 2020.
“Since then, we have made several minor adjustments to accommodate the gradual reopening of the economy as well as to address key challenges in the response.
“We have made an assessment of the current phase and as mentioned by the chairman, we have made recommendations to Mr President to retain the current phase of the response with minor changes to address some of the challenges we see on the economic, social, political and health fronts.
“The assessment that we did has revealed that there’s a lot of non-compliance with our non-pharmaceutical interventions, a lot of disbelief, skeptism, negativity with regards to the COVID pandemic.
“It is very clear that we need to have additional interventions to improve compliance with our non-pharmaceutical measures and our protocols.
“We also need to strengthen the engagement of communities and local authorities in prevention campaigns as well as expand on the current rollout of precision base control measures in high burden local governments in the country.
“Further to this effective from early morning hours of today and the measures put in place for the current phase two of the eased lockdown shall be maintained while addressing some specific aspects.
“These include maintaining the current nationwide curfew From 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
“Maintaining the restrictions on mass gatherings with specific emphasis on protecting vulnerable populations.
“We continue to urge persons above the age of 60, those that have underlying medical illnesses, such as: diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and those that have immunosuppression to please stay at home and limit the interaction with the general public.
“We also strongly recommend, and this has been accepted, that government meetings continue to be virtual as much as possible while maintaining restrictions on physical meetings, including official trips, oversight visits and board meetings until further notice.
“The restrictions in the education and entertainment sector as well as for other activities that attract mass gatherings such as operations of markets and worship centres remain.
“In particular, I would like to talk more about the general movement aspects.
“In terms of general movement, persons may go out for work, to buy necessary food, and for exercise specific to air transportation, as you’re aware domestic operations have already resumed, the railway sector has also restarted.
“For international travel, we have made recommendations to the aviation industry to commence the process for opening international airports provided all existing international and local prevention guidelines and COVID-19 are in place.
“We have modified the advice with the regards to arrival for flights: Passengers arriving at the airports for domestic flights advice to arrive at least one and a half hours before their flight, and three hours before international flights where these restart.
“For interstate travel, free movement of people and goods across state borders will continue, but only outside the curfew hours.
“Strict compliance is required with guidelines drawn by the Federal Ministry of Transportation as well as the advisory provided by the Federal Road Safety Corps as it relates to reduced occupancy for vehicles.
“Passengers are requested to report any public transport operator who fails to comply with the FRSC guidelines that have been agreed with major transport stakeholders.
“And with this particular phase, we will continue to push for the security services and enforcement agencies to make sure that they do their job of protecting public health.
“With regards to intrastate travel, we will continue with the policy of reduced occupancy to half for buses and a maximum of three passengers for normal taxis.