By Egena Sunday Ode
The Federal Government has reintroduced restriction on mass gatherings, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) announced on Monday.
The fresh restriction, it said, followed the rising wave of Covid-19 pandemic resulting in high number of cases and fatalities in Brazil, India and Turkey
The National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Mohammed, who made the announcement at a press conference said effective Tuesday 11 May 2021, event centres and night clubs are to remain closed till further notice.
He also said gatherings of religious groups and weddings have been reduced to 50 percent capacity, while official engagements, meetings and conferences should continue to hold virtually.
According to him, government has also reintroduced curfew from midnight of Monday May 10th to 4am.
Military personnel are to monitor and enforce adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions on public transport-wearing of face mask and maintaining social distance, he said.
The Federal Government has also appealed to state governments to enforce these guidelines, with violators made to appear before mobile courts and pay fines.
Mohammed reading out the guidelines said:
“Last week on 26th of April, the PSE took a precautionary step by restricting travel from three countries, Brazil, India and wherever observed high incidence of cases have a totally different and widespread prevalence for virus.
“The PSC continues to reinforce the surveillance system and the country’s points of entry. While our vaccine rollout has began there is a shortage in global supplies affected by the current situation in India. These translates to a delay in vaccinating a large proportion of the population and therefore a risk of a large outbreak, especially in the context of poor adherence to the recommended public and social gatherings.
“There are strong concerns about the non compliance to public health and social measures, which are contained in the health protection regulation 2021. “Specifically, the level of adherence to the use of face mask, physical distancing, temperature checks in public spaces, hand washing, and limitations placed on large gatherings remain very poor, in some areas these are even non existent.
“In line with increasing risk of certain cases, the PSC is therefore maintaining enforcement of the COVID-19 Health Protection Division. This is to mitigate the risk of a spike in new cases, while the nationwide vaccine continues.
“The National Response continues to focus on achieving a balance between preserving lives while working on a long term epidemic control.
“Further to this recommendation and effective from 00:01 hours on Tuesday 11th of May 2022, this phase four of restriction of movement shall come into effect. We shall maintain restrictions on mass gatherings of sidewalk settings, with a maximum of about 50 people in any enclosed space.
“Approved gatherings must be held to the physical distancing measures, and other non pharmaceutical interventions in place.
Enforcement of mandatory requirement for seven day quarantine for all international passengers arriving from foreign destinations. While institutional quarantine for international passengers arriving from the three countries we mentioned.
“Enforced temperature checks and robust monetary policy in all public settings, working his buildings, businesses, places of worship, etc.
“Access to government and commercial premises should be denied to any person who is not wearing face mask.
“We will continue to maintain restriction on reduction of work of government staff workers from GL-12 and below. We’ll also limited government meetings to virtual platforms as much as possible. While we maintaining restrictions on physical meetings, including official trips, oversight visits and board meetings.
“Event centres night night clubs shall remain closed until further notice. Restaurants are to provide eat in at 50% capacity and provides takeaways where available.
“These measures are to enable the government to measure effectively prevent and control a resurgence of an acute phase of this pandemic, continue to strengthen our public health systems and protect the lives of Nigerians and our economy.
“It is critical that greater ownership and responsibility of these measures as a cure for both the general public and government institutions across federal and state levels.
“It is believed that these steps will help consolidate the gains made so far and position our country to effectively overcome the pandemic going forward.
“The Presidential Steering Committee has made this recommendations in line with established thematic areas of movement, industry, labour, and community activities.
“The nationwide curfew will be imposed tonight at midnight and will run through till 4am. No more restrictions of movement within the country, given the risk that citizens are encouraged to refrain from non essential movement, and comply with NPIS guidelines. People who are aged 60 years and above and with co-morbidities are strongly urged to stay at home and avoid crowds.”