FG extends gradual easing of lockdown by two weeks, says ‘Nigeria yet to reach ‘peak’ of COVID-19 cases’

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The Federal Government has extended the gradual easing of the COVID-19 lockdown across the country by two weeks.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, who also doubles as the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF).
He made the disclosure during the COVID-19 daily briefing on Monday in Abuja.
The SGF said that the global epicenter of the pandemic has shifted from China to Europe to the U.S. and was now showing a shift to South and Central America.
“This shift to South America with virtually similar climatic and demographic similarities with Africa, is a cause for concern when we consider the fact that earlier projections pointed to Africa as likely to be the worst hit continent, by the pandemic.
“As at midnight on Sunday, May 31, 2020, Nigeria recorded 10,162 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 3,007 discharges and 287 deaths. Significantly, Nigeria recorded 553 new cases on Saturday, May 30, 2020 representing the highest single-day numbers, ever,” he said.
According to him, based on the overall assessment, including available data on the public health considerations and resultant economic impacts, the PTF is of the opinion that.
“Nigeria is ready to allow SCIENCE and DATA determine her cautious advancement into the second phase of the eased lockdown for a period of four weeks.
“After considering all factors mentioned above, the PTF submitted its recommendations and President  Mohammadu Buhari has approved the following for implementation over the next four weeks spanning June 2 to June 29, 2020, subject to review,” he noted.
Mustapha gave cautious advance into the Second Phase of the national response to COVID-19; Application of science and data to guide the targeting of areas of on-going high transmission of COVID-19 in the country.
“This means mobilisation of all resources at State and Local Government levels to create public awareness on COVID 19 and improve compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions within communities.
“ Sustenance of key non-pharmaceutical interventions that would apply nationwide and include:
“Ban of gatherings of more than 20 people outside of a workplace.
“Relaxation of restriction on places of Worship based on guidelines issued by the PTF and Protocols agreed by State Governments
“Managed access to markets and locations of economic activity to limit the risk of transmission. Ban on inter-state travels except for movement of agricultural produce, petroleum products, manufactured goods & essential services;
“Mandatory use of non-medical face masks in public places;  Mandatory provision of handwashing facilities/sanitisers in all public places.
“Extensive temperature checks in public places; Maintaining 2 metres between people in public places;  Strengthening infection prevention and control at healthcare facilities.
“Isolation of vulnerable populations “elderly and those with underlying health conditions”Massive information and education campaigns.
“Deepening of collaborative efforts with community leaders, civil society, faith-based organisations, traditional institutions, etc;
“Continuous mobilisation of State Govts to take up greater role in the implementation of the guidelines and advisories provided by the PTF.
“Deepening of collaborative efforts with community leaders, civil society, faith-based organisations, traditional institutions, etc;
“Continuous mobilisation of State government to take up greater role in the implementation of the guidelines and advisories provided by the PTF,”he stated.
Mustapha also said that Nigeria is yet to reach the “peak” of COVID-19 infections.
He said it was necessary to restate to the citizenry,  that Nigeria had not reached the peak of confirmed cases, adding that the battle against COVID-19 was a long term battle.
He urged Nigerian to pursue a strategy that would aid the sustainable control of the spread of the disease, stressing that risk communications and community engagement should remain  top priority.
He added that precision approached to containment and management should be adopted based on the overall assessment, including available data on the public health considerations and resultant economic impacts.
According to him, the PTF is of the opinion that Nigeria is ready to allow science and data determine her cautious advancement into the second phase of the eased lockdown for a period of four weeks.
“It is the consideration of the PTF that while Nigeria’s confirmed cases have increased in the period under review, the following factors should inspire confidence in the response
“Majority of the confirmed cases are in a handful of local government areas  in the country as 20 out of the 774 LGAs nationwide account for 60 per cent of the cases,” he said.
He said there was an opportunity to concentrate efforts in the high-burden areas, adding that the federal agencies and state governments were working together on the promotion and utilisation of guidelines on case management.
According to him, there is increased capacity to detect, test and trace those infected with the virus as 29 testing laboratories have been activated, with Bauchi being the latest addition.
He added that the test count nationwide had exceeded 60,000, stating that a shift in focus to community engagement and enhanced risk communication was imperative.

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