Olayemi Esan, Abuja
The Federal Government and Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 are contemplating on a fresh lockdown in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna and other major cities in the country on account of the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
Manager of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Muhammad hinted this on Friday on a TV program describing the current situation as alarming.
Simultaneously, the Delta State Government imposed a fresh curfew across the state to check the spread of the infection.
The Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chiedu Ebie, said the curfew runs from 10 pm to 4 am daily.
Muhammad said on Friday that the federal government would target the urban areas for lockdown because “they are the most affected and that is why we have these super spreaders.”
He added: “We have analyzed that and we are advising the states based on the data that these are the focused areas where these transmissions are more than the others.”
But the PTF National Incident Manager said that unlike the previous lockdown, the next one will not be total.
The Federal Government, according to him, wants economic activities to continue although in a regulated fashion.
His words: “Certainly, even if we are going to have a lockdown, it is not going to be a total lockdown. A couple of weeks back, we analysed the data and we identified the hotspot local government areas.
“Mostly, the areas affected are the urban local governments in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Plateau.
“Even in most other states, it is the urban areas that are involved. So, if we are going to have any restrictions, it will be in these areas.”
The PTF National Incident Manager also said the federal government is working round the clock to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccines are in the country by not later than the end of March.
It also plans to get between 70 and 80 per cent of the population vaccinated.
He said government is worried by the level of non-compliance with COVID-19 regulations across the country.
Bayelsa to sanction schools violating COVID-19 protocols
The Bayelsa State Government on Friday warned it would no longer condone the violation of the COVID-19 protocols amidst the second wave of the virus.
Education Commissioner Gentle Emelah told reporters in Yenagoa that that inspectors would soon be visiting schools and warned that any school found violating the protocols would be sanctioned.
Delta imposes fresh curfew to check resurgence
Reacting to the rising wave of Covid-19, the Delta State Government on Friday imposed a 10pm to 4am curfew across the state.
The curfew took immediate effect.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chiedu Ebie, in a statement in Asaba, asked residents to comply with the restriction in the interest of public health.
He said security agencies had been directed to fully enforce the directives
He said the guidelines earlier issued on the closure of night clubs across the state “still subsists and should be complied with.”
He added: “In the same vein, the government wishes to restate the standard COVID-19 protocols for the guidance of all and these include: “Wearing of face masks in public places; avoiding crowded places; physical distancing; regular hand washing with soap and water or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
“Deltans, residents and owners/operators of public places and establishments are strongly advised to comply with these directives as there shall be strict enforcement by security agencies in line with the Federal Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021 signed into effect by the President Muhammadu Buhari on 26th January 2021.”
Under the new dispensation, any person that contravenes the regulations commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction, to a fine or a term of six months imprisonment or both in accordance with Section 5 of the Quarantine Act.
The Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, and other relevant local government, state and Federal governments’ agencies are mandated to enforce the regulations.
It reads in part: “At all gatherings, a physical distance of at least two metres shall be maintained at all times between persons.
“Notwithstanding the provision of Regulation 1, no gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50% capacity of the space.
“All persons in public gatherings, whether in enclosed or open spaces, shall adhere to the provisions of Part 2 of these Regulations.
“The provisions of these Regulations may be varied by Guidelines and Protocols as may be issued, from time to time, by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 on the recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“ No person shall be allowed within the premises of a market, mall, supermarket, shop, restaurants, hotels, event centres, gardens, leisure parks, recreation centres, motor parks, fitness centre or any other similar establishment (hereinafter collectively referred to as “establishments”) except: a. he is wearing a face covering that covers the nose and mouth; b. he washes his hands or cleaned the hands using hand sanitiser approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); and c. his body temperature has been checked. Any person found to have a body temperature above 38 degrees Celsius shall be denied entry and advised to immediately seek medical attention.
“Every establishment occupier shall make provision for regular hand hygiene for any person coming into the premises during opening hours. This includes a handwashing station with soap and running water, or hand sanitiser approved by NAFDAC.
“Each establishment occupier is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting his premises.
“It is the responsibility of the occupier of the establishment to: a. Enforce the proper use of face covering; b. Make provision for safe hygiene facilities; c. Enforce provision of temperature checks prior to entry into the establishment; d. Enforce provisions and use of face covering within the establishment; e. Ensure that their customers queue up and are attended to serially while complying with physical distancing measures and avoiding overcrowding; and f. Generally, ensure compliance with the provisions of these Regulations.
“Occupiers of establishments are liable for any observed non-compliance by any persons within the premises.
“All worshippers and users of places of worship shall comply with the provisions of Parts 1 and 2 of these Regulations.
“Worshippers shall, where and whenever possible, avoid sharing worship items such as mats, bottles, hymnals, etc.
“It is the responsibility of the person in charge of a place of worship to ensure compliance with the provisions of these regulations within the worship centre.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in its Thursday update on the pandemic put the total confirmed cases in the country at 127,560.
A total of 10,151 cases have been discharged with 1,550 deaths recorded.