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COVID-19: President Buhari extends lockdown by one week, orders 2-week ban in Kano

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has announced a one week extension of the lockdown directive in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), effective from today April 27 until Monday, April 4.

The decision, he said, would kick-start a gradual relaxation of the lockdown order at the epicentres of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Buhari, who spoke during a national broadcast on Monday evening, disclosed that the new instructions were based on the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, stressing that efforts were being made to ensure that business activities are restored back to normal.

“Based on the above and in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the various Federal Government committees that have reviewed socio-economic matters and the Nigeria Governors Forum, I have approved for a phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun states effective from Saturday, 4th May, 2020 at 9.00 am,” he said.

“However, this will be followed strictly with aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measures while allowing the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors.”

The three most affected states have, however, been under lockdown for a month shortly after the nation recorded his first case of COVID-19 in February.

Since the first case was reported, a total of 1,273 confirmed cases have been recorded in the country, with 40 deaths while 239 persons have been discharged.

The President, who disclosed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in partnership with other relevant officials and development partners, is working to intervene in the health crisis in Kano State, also announced a two-week lockdown in the state.

According to him, the use of face masks would be enforced while the social distancing guideline remains.

He said the NCDC has also accredited 15 laboratories across the country with an aggregate capacity to undertake 2,500 tests per day nationwide.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states shall remain in place until these new ones come into effect on Saturday, 4th May 2020.”

However, Buhari said other additional information regarding sector-specific details, timing guidelines for business operations and government activities would be made public by the presidential task force.

He added that state governors are at liberty to amend the spelled out guidelines to suit their peculiar need.

Highlights of the new nationwide measures are as below:

  1. Selected businesses and offices can open from 9 am to 6 pm;
  2. There will be an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am. This means all movements will be prohibited during this period except essential services;
  3. There will be a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travels until further notice;
  4. There will be partial and controlled interstate movement of goods and services will be allowed to allow for the movement of goods and services from producers to consumers; and
  5. We will strictly ensure the mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene. Furthermore, the restrictions on social and religious gathers shall remain in place. State Governments, corporate organisations and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens.

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