President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the second phase of the eased lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic for another four weeks. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this during the Task Force briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
This extension is the third for the second phase of lockdown currently observed across the country. Mustapha had submitted new recommendations for the second extension of the second phase of gradual and eased lockdown to President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, for the past nine weeks (from 2nd June 2020), the government has been running phase 2 of the eased lockdown, which has witnessed two extensions. He said that these extensions were necessitated by observed lack of compliance with prescribed measures, dangers associated with community spread infections, and the need to strengthen critical areas of the Response Strategy for effectiveness.
Mustapha said that prior to the Sallah break, the PTF informed the nation that the 6th Interim Report and recommendations would be submitted to Mr. President for his consideration and approval. He added that the PTF team met with the President on Wednesday 5th August 2020 to brief him of the situation on COVID-19 and the next steps.
He said that the recommendations made to the President were borne out of the diligent evaluation of the situation in Nigeria as well as regional and global experiences and that the considerations were also guided by the three thematic areas movement, industry, and labor; and community activities. “After due consideration of the recommendations, Mr. President approved the maintaining the current phase of the National Response to COVID-19 for another four weeks in line with the modifications reflected in the report; partnering with states and local governments to improve community sensitisation and engagement to the COVID-19 response.
“Mandating state authorities and the FCT to enforce non-pharmaceutical guidelines, primarily the use of face masks in public appearance and places; encouraging state governments to collaborate with local government authorities to intensify necessary measures such as contact tracing, grassroots mobilisation and risk communication; and strengthening of collaboration with other mandate groups at Federal/State levels to harmonise the country’s COVID-19 response, on the short, medium and long-term basis,” Mustapha said.