The Federal Government has said that it would gradually re-open the economy in a total of six weeks broken into three tranches of two weeks each.
That’s a gradual ease up every two weeks over the next six weeks.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the 22nd joint national briefing of the ccommittee.
According to him, to underscore the collaborative efforts with state governments, they are encouraged to provide leadership in engaging relevant associations responsible for various sectors like market associations and transport unions for orderly and effective implementation.
“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,” Mustapha said.
He said that the reassuring telephone conversation between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Donald Trump of the United States, during which they exchanged ideas on emergency responses, further highlights the global response to this pandemic and underscores the collaboration between all nations in solving the problem.
Mustapha commended the offer of ventilators by the American President but said the PTF had developed sector-specific guidelines.
He urged the security agencies to strictly enforce these new measures that have been put in place.
He said the overnight curfew is applicable nationwide from 8.00pm to 06.00am daily, effective Monday, 4th of May, 2020.
Inter-state travels are banned except for the movement of goods, agro-products, petroleum products, and essential services, among others as directed by Mr. President.
He said the management of various offices, premises and businesses that will be gradually re-opened are mandated to ensure fumigation and decontamination; arrangement made for physical distancing; provision of hand sanitizers and hand washing facilities; application of the policy on mandatory use of face masks; provision of thermometers for temperature checks.
He also said that consideration must be given to persons living with disabilities (PWDs); increased communication with staff on COVID-19 and measures put in place; and any other measure that may be peculiar for the organisations and or sector.
He added, “Mass gathering of more than 20 people outside of a workplace is strictly prohibited; controlled access to neighbourhood markets and locations of economic activities will be enforced; mandatory temperature checks will be conducted in public places; social distancing of two metres to be maintained between people in workplaces and other public places.
“All passenger flights remain under ban; and mandatory supervised isolation of persons arriving from outside the country for at least 14 days.”
The SGF urged state governments in collaboration with security agencies and relevant trade associations to strongly ensure that these measures are strictly enforced.
He said that the easing of restrictions and introduction of revised measures do not amount to the end of this battle against COVID-19, but that this signifies the need for more vigilance and stringent compliance so that the nation is not lulled into complacence capable of diminishing the progress made so far.
The question of Kano
On Kano State’s cases, Mustapha said that 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.
He said, “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. Additionally, 50 trucks of assorted grains have been sent to Kano and due for delivery within the next 48 hours.”
Talking about the role of research in this exercise, he said the nation must encourage the local scientists and deepen Nigeria’s capacity for research.
He said that there is a huge role for all relevant research institutes to play at this time and that the Federal Ministry of Health is coordinating the process in conjunction with the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and the Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).
He added, “We have received information on domestic and international claims about emerging inventions on COVID-19. These are most welcome but scientific validation process and protocols will have to be followed. We are open to all options for the good of humanity.”