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Nigeria reviews COVID-19 response, reintroduces nationwide curfew

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Boss Mustapha PHOTO: Twitter

Following the rising in infections in several and the danger the development poses to Africa, the Federal Government has reviewed Nigeria’s COVID-19 response and reintroduced a nationwide 12am to 4am curfew as part of efforts to curtail further spread of the virus.

The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) has also approved the commencement of administration of the second dose of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine across the federation.

Besides, the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government has fixed the cost of COVID-19 testing –be it PCR or any other – at $50 at all points of entry with effect from May 17, 2021.This is to ease travel and trade within the sub-region.

Speaking at the briefing of the committee yesterday in Abuja, the National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Mohammed, announced that the curfew would take effect from midnight of Monday, May 10, adding that night clubs, gyms and others would remain shut till further notice beginning from Tuesday.

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He said effective from 0000 hours on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, Phase 4 of the first restrictions would come into effect.

“We shall maintain restrictions on mass gatherings in and outside work settings with a maximum number of 50 people in any enclosed space, approved gatherings must be held, maintaining physical distancing and other non-pharmaceutical measures,” Mohammed clarified.

He stated that the PSC will continue to maintain restrictions on resumption of work by government workers from Level 12 and below in addition to limiting meetings to virtual platforms as much as possible while maintaining restrictions on physical meetings, official trips and oversight visits.

The official reiterated that religious gatherings and weddings had been reduced to 50 per cent attendance.

The incident manager explained that the measures were to enable government effectively prevent and control the resurgence of an acute phase of the pandemic aside protecting lives and the economy

He said: “The PSC, last week, took a precautionary step of restricting flights from Brazil India and Turkey where there is a high number of cases and fatality rate as well prevalence of variants of concern. There is a shortage of global supply of COVID-19 vaccines affected by the current situation in India. This translates to a delay in vaccinating a large proportion of the population and a risk of larger outbreak, especially in the context of poor adherence to public health and social measures.

“There are concerns about non-compliance to public health and social measures, especially the level of adherence to physical distancing, use of masks, temperature checks in public places, among others.”

On his part, PSC Chairman and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said given the challenge of vaccine nationalism compounded by the production situation in India, the committee was exploring other options to get Nigerians vaccinated.

Also speaking, the Executive Director of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, pointed out that frontline workers between 18 years and above and persons between 50 years and above are advised to visit any designated vaccination sites to receive the jab free of charge while people who have received their first dose should check their vaccination cards for their next appointments.

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