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PTF closes bars, nightclubs, event, recreational centres

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• Restricts weddings, conferences, others to 50 persons
The Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19, yesterday, said discussions were ongoing around the calls for restriction of international travels due to discovery of new strains of the virus in some countries. 

The task force, aviation and health authorities are assessing the situation closely, and would take a position as soon as cogent scientific basis is established. 

Following the rise in confirmed cases nationwide, the PTF has, however, ordered restriction of all informal and formal festivities, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities and end-of-year events to not more than 50 persons.

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It also directed that all gatherings linked to religious events be limited to less than 50 per cent capacity of the hosting facility in addition to physical distancing, mandatory use of face masks and strict enforcement of not more than 50 attendees. 

Task force’s chairman and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the briefing of the organisationin Abuja, said the advisories were being issued to sub-national entities for implementation over the next five weeks because these activities are considered “super spreader events.” 

He ordered closure of bars, nightclubs, pubs, event and recreational cenres with exception to restaurants providing takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins. 

The SGF said public transport systems were to carry passengers of not more than 50 per cent of their capacity in deference too extant social distancing protocol.
 

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Mustapha stated that the PTF, on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Education, expects schools, which vacated from December 18,2020 to remain closed till at least January 18, 2021 for ongoing measures to take effect.

He said recent epidemiology statistics confirmed that Nigeria was witnessing rising infections akin to the second wave of the disease affecting other nations of the world.

The chairman observed that Lagos, Kaduna and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had emerged new epicentres with over 70 per cent of all confirmed cases.

His words: “Two major indicators highlight the current increase in cases and transmission across Nigeria. These are: Notwithstanding the fact that our testing numbers were fast approaching the peak recorded in July 2020, the number of cases being reported are disproportionately higher. For example, in the FCT, despite recording an increase of 85 per cent in tests conducted over the last week, the number of confirmed cases increased by 285 per cent during the same time period.

“These trends point to a higher Test Positivity Rate (TPR) – the number of positive cases detected as a proportion of all tests). The TPR was below five per cent through September and October, and we recorded a low point of three per cent nationally in late October 2020. “However, recent trends in cases have seen this number increase to 10 per cent in the second week of December.” 

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