Breaking: FG issues fresh orders on COVID-19, bars, restaurants shut… worship centres, eateries, workers get new guidelines

Boss

The Presidential Task Force on control of COVID-19 Monday came up with new measures to check the spread of the virus in the country.

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, Presidential Task Force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said officers from Grade Level 12 and below are now to work from home.

He said Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executives are to be held accountable for enforcing Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPI) rules in their domains with frequent spot checks.

He said the Presidential Task Force would work with the Head of Civil Service of the Federation to implement aspects related to the public service.

The SGF said all bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues are to be closed just as all restaurants except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins shall remain closed.

He said said all informal and formal festivity events including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end of year events shall be restricted to not more than 50 persons.

He said public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50% of their capacity in compliance with social distancing rules while compliance with NPI protocols, especially the advisory on wearing of face masks in public spaces should be enforced.

He said there would be limit to gatherings linked to religious events to less than 50% capacity of the facility of use during which physical distancing, mandatory use of face masks shall be strictly enforced.He said where more than 50 persons are attending an event, the gathering should be held outdoors only.

Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide which is similar to the second wave of infections occurring in other countries across the world. Particularly, Lagos, Kaduna and the FCT have emerged as the new epicentres during this period, with over 70% of all confirmed cases,” he said.

He said of the 163,818 inbound international travellers captured on the Nigeria International Travel Portal for the control of possible importation of the virus, 20,216 (31 percent) have not shown up for post arrival test.

He said 163,818 inbound travellers have been captured on the portal, out of which, 77,025 (47 percent) made payment for post arrival testing.

He said the Presidential Task Force has concluded arrangements with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to impose sanctions on the defaulters for breaching the public health protocols.

“A lot of discussion is still going on around the calls for the restriction of international travels due to the discovery of new strains of the virus in certain countries. The PTF, Aviation and health authorities including the WHO, are assessing the situation closely and would take a position as soon as cogent scientific basis are established. The protection of Nigerians remains our primary concern and we reassure Nigerians of our resolve not to relent,” he said.The SGF also spoke on closure of schools, saying government intends to reopen them in January.

“The PTF on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Education, expects that schools would have vacated from the 18th December 2020 and remain closed till at least the 18th of January, 2021 to enable the measures introduced to take effect.

“All persons above the age of 60 yrs and/or with comorbidities are to be encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds.

“All non-essential travels – both domestic and international during the holiday season are seriously discouraged,” he said.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari has directed state governments and the Federal Capital Territory Administration to immediately assume responsibility for the enforcement of the re-introduced restrictions and measures.

The SGF also told journalists that one of his family members that tested positive to COVID-19 is a one-year-old including four of his children.

He said the the PTF will submit  its end of year report to the president on Tuesday and Nigerians shall be kept abreast of developments in this regard.

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