President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the country’s transition to the third phase of the ease of lockdown in the national response to COVID-19.
The approval followed recommendation presented to him, on Thursday, at the presidential villa, by the Presidential Task Force on the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who revealed this at a press briefing held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, said even though the country is not ready fully reopening, there is the need for further relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.
“The PTF believes that while Nigeria is not ready for a full re-opening of the economy, there has been sufficient progress to warrant significant further relaxation of the restrictions applied,” he said.
He remarked that the main thrust of the recommendation made to the president is that Nigeria advances to the third phase of eased restrictions with further amendments, to address economic, socio-political and health concerns.
He said: “This will last till a time when the epidemic is sufficiently controlled in Nigeria.
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“Accordingly, Mr President has considered and approved the following: Transition into the Third Phase of the National Response to COVID-19 for a period of four weeks with effect from 12.01 am on Friday September 4, 2020 in line with amendments to address economic, socio-political and health considerations reflected in the implementation guidelines;
“Continued engagement with States and Local Governments to improve community sensitisation on the response;
“Maintaining the current non-pharmaceutical interventions nationwide;
“Urging the State governments to work with Local Government authorities in their states to intensify necessary measures such as contact tracing, grassroots engagement and risk communication;
“Strengthening the collaboration between the Federal and State organs to harmonise the country’s COVID-19 response, in the short, medium and long-term basis; and
vi. Introduction of sanctions including the suspension of passports or denial of foreign travels for violation of current provisional travel-related quarantine protocols.”
Mustapha also revealed that President Buhari has approved the extension of the six-month PTF’s mandate that was due to expire this month till the end of December.
According to him, the objective of the extension include to sustain a robust multi-sectoral national response; ensure that we successfully navigate the community spread stage of the pandemic and to strengthen our health system and other socio-economic infrastructure to enable them to meet our national aspirations.
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