The Federal Government has extended the second phase of the easing of COVID-19 lockdown in the country by one week.
This was announced by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha during the Presidential Task Force briefing on Monday.
“We have regrettably come to the inevitable conclusion that the majority of Nigerians, irrespective of status, creed, and level of education, continue to live in denial of the virulent nature of the virus and consistently breach the guidelines and non-pharmaceutical measures put in place,” Mustapha said.
The second phase of the gradual easing of the lockdown was supposed to give way for the third phase by the end of July. However, given the continuous rise in infection rate and confirmed cases of the virus, the second phase will now be extended.
According to the SGF, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the process of submitting interim reports and measures for the next steps had since commenced and even reached advanced stages.
Among other factors that were considered, the upcoming Eid-el-Kabir holiday coincides with the expiration of the current phase of ease of lockdown. Therefore, it became a matter of prudence to extend the lockdown by one week, he said.
What this means
Phase 2 of the eased lockdown, which ought to have come to an end on Wednesday 20 July, will now be extended to Thursday, August 6, 2020. All the existing guidelines that were earlier announced would, therefore, remain in place until the new date. The 10 pm to 4 am curfew will remain in place, and interstate movement will also be permitted outside of curfew hours. Commercial transport drivers are only allowed to take 60% of their normal passenger capacities when embarking on trips.
Mustapha noted in his briefing that global confirmed cases have surpassed 16.3 million in over 200 countries and territories, with about 0.65 million deaths and 10 million recoveries. On the 24th of July 2020, the world recorded over 284,000 additional confirmed cases and 9750 deaths, the highest ever, and a red flag to all countries.
“It showed that despite almost 6 months of tackling the COVID-19 and investments in billions and trillions of dollars, we still recorded the highest number on 24 July”, he stated.
Mustapha then urged Nigerians to be more careful and adhere to safety guidelines put in place, as current statistics show a high rate of community transmission and about 65% of fatalities for those above 65 years.
“If you do not need to go outside your home, please stay indoors and abide by the guidelines,” he stressed.
International flights to resume soon
Considering the importance of international flights to the local economy, the Presidential Task Force and the aviation sector are working hard to fast-track the resumption of flights in the international airspace. The SGF noted that the arrival protocols for inbound flights are being worked out, and consultations will be carried out with the relevant MDAs to bring it to fruition.