The Federal Government through the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on Covid-19 has in a new revision of Nigeria’s response to the pandemic made major changes to some of the earlier introduced measures in view of the declining number of cases.
This is coming a few days after the federal government introduced a new international travel guideline for passengers and airlines.
According to a monitored report on ChannelsTV, the committee in a statement dated April 2, explained that the decision followed the reduced risk of importation of new variants, as well as the availability of vaccines and the increasing number of people vaccinated in Nigeria and globally.
The federal government in the statement noted that states should continue to consider the revised safety protocols as the minimum guidelines required to ensure an acceptable level of epidemic control nationwide.
A major highlight of the revised measures by the committee is the removal of formal restrictions on movement within the country with the lifting of a nationwide curfew imposed from 12 midnight to 4am.
It has removed limitations on both domestic and international air travels, adding that the advisory limiting Nigerians to essential travels only has been lifted, although citizens need to refrain from non-essential movement and comply with non-pharmaceutical interventions guidelines such as the mandatory use of facemask/facial coverings in public, given the risks involved.
Other highlights include the lifting of limitations on the number of persons attending weddings, conferences, office parties, seminars, end of year events, others, as well as the lifting of the ban on concerts, street parties, carnivals, although use of facemasks is still mandatory for indoor events.
What the PSC on Covid-19 is saying
The statement partly reads, “Use of face mask to be mandatory for indoor activities but at individual’s discretion during outdoor activities; those aged 60 and above or with co-morbidities such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease are advised to uphold the use of universal precaution which includes the use of face mask, avoid crowd, and frequent use of hand sanitisers.
“No limitation on air travels – both domestic and international flights; both international and domestic travellers must abide by all existing protocols, including the use of face mask while onboard and taking personal precaution measures; and all arriving international passengers must register with the Nigeria International Travel Portal (https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng) and abide by the travel guidelines.
“No limitations on inter or intra-state travel; all vendors and service providers must abide by stated stipulations from the Federal Ministry of Transportation; all passengers and commuters must wear face masks once on board, as well as continue to observe personal precautionary measures.”
- The committee in the area of industry and labour, recommended virtual meetings by offices for the private sector and advised against large meetings. It asked operators to decongest offices and ensure they were well-ventilated.
- According to it, normal work by all staff should resume in all offices while encouraging measures to reduce congestion such as working from home or on-and-off days.
- The PSC also suggested mandatory use of face masks in closed offices and recommended safety protocol for all persons and discretionary use of appropriate measures.
- It also asked operators to encourage the use of approved Ag-Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) as recommended in the Guidance for the Use of Approved COVID-19 Ag-RDTs in Nigeria.
What you should know
- Recall that in May 2021, the federal government announced the reintroduction of Covid-19 restrictions across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), following the disturbing resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The action was seen as part of pre-emptive measures taken by government to mitigate the impact of the new variants of the disease, should they be imported into the country.
- The reintroduced Covid-19 restrictions meant that mass gatherings in public spaces had been restricted to 50 people at any given time, while government meetings and travels had been limited to virtual platforms, adding that the government had directed that bars and nightclubs should remain closed and the nationwide curfew would be in force until further notice.
- However, the government denied re-introducing Covid-19 restrictions but was only maintaining the curfew under phase 4 of the phased restriction of movement which never relaxed the curfew imposed earlier under phase 3 of the eased lockdown.