COVID-19: President Buhari Extends Gradual Lockdown ease

President Muhammadu Buhari has told Nigerians that the country is not ready for the total relaxation of lockdown imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In this light, the President has directed the extension of the first phase of the eased lockdown measure by another two weeks.

This development was made public by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the COVID-19 Pandemic, Boss Mustapha, during Monday’s daily press briefing by the task force.

The SGF explained that the President took the decision after reviewing happenings within the country since the first phase of the lockdown relaxation became effective on May 4.

To this end, he said President Buhari had ordered that the current level of eased lockdown should be repeated from midnight of Monday, May 18 to June 1, 2020, this would include the 8pm to 6am nationwide curfew that had since been in force.

Buhari also ordered that the total lockdown in place in Kano state be extended by another two weeks in order to contain the spread of the virus.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the reality is that in spite of the modest progress made, Nigeria is not yet ready for full opening of the economy and tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority. Any relaxation will only portend grave danger for our populace.”

“Advisedly, the current phase of eased restriction will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued.”

“The two weeks extension of Phase one of the eased restriction is also to enable other segments of the economy prepare adequately for compliance with the guidelines, preparatory to reopening in the coming weeks.”

“For the PTF, we share your pains but our future is in the hands of every Nigerian and future decisions will depend greatly on our compliance.”

“Based on the recommendations of the PTF, Mr. President has approved the following: Thee measures, exemptions, advisories and scope of entities allowed to reopen under phase one of the eased locked down, shall be maintained across the federation for another two weeks effective from 12 00 midnight today (18th May, 2020 to 1st June, 2020);”

“Intensifying efforts to “tell (communicate), trace (identify) and treat (manage)’ cases; elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions;”

“Maintain the existing lockdown order in Kano for an additional two weeks; Imposition of precision lockdown in states, or in metropolitan/high-burden LGAs, that are reporting a rapidly increasing number of cases, when the need arises. This would be complemented with the provision of palliatives and continued re-evaluation of the impact of the interventions;” and

“Aggressive scale up of efforts to ensure that communities are informed, engaged and participating in the response with enhanced public awareness in high risk states”, Mustapha noted.

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