Covid-19: Again, El-Rufai extends lockdown in Kaduna

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state on Tuesday night extended the ongoing lockdown imposed in the state to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic by two weeks. 

Kaduna state government imposed the Quarantine Orders on March 26 to contain the spread of Covid-19, after 60 days of partial lockdown, government decided to extend the lockdown by two weeks. 

Kaduna state Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, in a state broadcast on Tuesday, said that the reviewed lockdown was aimed at expanding the ability of citizens to resume the pursuit of livelihoods, in permitted sectors subject to compliance with health and safety protocols, including physical distancing.

‘’Private sector firms that meet these requirements will operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. This window also allows vulcanisers, welders, mechanics and providers of similar services to operate on the same days,’’ she said.

According to the deputy governor, restaurants will be allowed to open strictly to offer takeaway services, warning that ‘’bars, sporting venues and event centres remain closed. So are hotels that are not specifically licensed as essential service providers during this period.’’

Dr Balarabe who reiterated that the revised regulations will come into effect from Monday, 1st June 2020, however said that the lockdown has been extended for two weeks.

“The new regulations give citizens a three-day window every week to shop for food and other essentials. Until otherwise stated, the lockdown-free days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“Temporary neighbourhood markets will continue to operate from 10am to 4pm on these three days, but citizens can move from 6am to 6pm on these lockdown-free days. Informal markets are not allowed and those flouting regulations by turning streets into markets are advised to stop.’’

Dr Balarabe, who is also the chair of the state Standing Committee on Covid-19, reiterated that interstate and intercity travel remain banned.

“Government officials and mobile courts will enforce this ban to prevent people from spreading the virus through non-essential movement. The night time curfew that has been enforced across the state still remains, from 6pm to 6am.”

“’Schools, places of worship and markets will remain closed under the adjusted orders. The relevant government officials and agencies will be engaging with religious leaders, transport unions, traditional institutions, market unions, school proprietors and other stakeholders, to discuss the conditions and circumstances for a safe reopening of these sectors,’’ she said.

The deputy governor pointed out that ‘’these measures are intended to preserve the state’s ability to protect citizens, empower citizens to lead the fight against Covid-19 and make necessary adjustments to the partial lockdown to permit the safe resumption of the pursuit of livelihoods in more sectors.’’

“Government is conscious of the sacrifices that citizens have made and the many challenges that remain in keeping them safe from Covid-19.’’

Dr Balarabe advised citizens to demonstrate greater compliance with laid down health protocols, particularly the wearing of face masks outside the house, observance of physical distancing, regular hand washing with soap and water and the avoidance of large gatherings.

“Violation of these protocols will compel government to reimpose restrictions. A spike in Covid-19 infections will also necessitate a tightening of restrictions.

“Kaduna State has so far conducted 1900 tests and had recorded a total of 189 Covid-19 cases as at 25th May 2020. Ideally, the state would prefer to conduct so many more tests, but we are constrained by a host of factors.

“During the two-week extension, the state will continue to expand its public health response, including testing capacity. The Ministry of Health team will continue to conduct more tests in identified hotspots,’’ she promised.

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