Coronavirus: Schools to remain shut, religious gatherings remain suspended as Nigeria eases lockdown

Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive during his Monday night broadcast, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has issued the guidelines to be followed after the lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun is eased from Monday.

Mr Buhari had said that from May 4 to 17, there would be a phased easing of the lockdown in the three states including an 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily curfew.

This, he said, was to ease the hardship of lockdown on Nigerians and prevent layoffs as well as reawaken economic activities, although under strict restrictions.

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While some have welcomed this directive, others have questioned the timing, because Nigeria has recorded over 500 cases in the last three days, with total cases nearing 2000, deaths above 50, and more than 300 recoveries.

Concerns have even increased with how, within days of easing its lockdown, West African neighbour Ghana confirmed coronavirus cases surged to over 2,000, a 24 per cent increase.

Lockdown easing directive

The fifth week of lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun is to be relaxed Monday. The guideline for this, signed by the chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, and sent to Akelicious on Friday, mandates anyone in public spaces to use non-medical face masks.

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It also prohibits interstate travels — save for essential travel services — as well as gathering of more than 20 people outside of a workplace.

“Social distancing of 2 metres must be maintained between people in workplaces and other public spaces,” the directive read, while also stating that ban on all passenger flights and religious gatherings will continue.

“Movement between LGAs (except metropolitan areas) is strongly discouraged unless for critical reasons such as healthcare and work,” Mr Mustapha wrote in the document.

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