President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday directed that the first phased and gradual easing of the lockdown be sustained for another two weeks.
Among others, the easing measures were curfew and ban on inter-state travel except for essential services and transportation of food commodities.
The president directed that the total closure of Kano, the business hub of the North and the most populous state should be sustained for the next two weeks.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, announced this during Monday’s press briefing by the task force.
The SGF explained that the president’s decision was informed by the realisation of the fact that any further relaxation of measures adopted to contain the spread of COVID-19 would mean grave danger for the nation. Mustapha, who took a cursory review of the last two weeks when the current measures were instituted, observed that despite the efforts made so far, Nigeria was not ripe yet for a full opening of the economy, adding that all necessary sacrifices must be made in the interest of Nigerians. Justifying the extensions, the SGF said, “The PTF considers it important to let you know that it has relied largely on science, statistics, lessons learnt from other parts of the world and an evaluation of our peculiar circumstances to draw its conclusions on the outcome of the last two weeks. “For example, our surveillance, infection prevention and control activities identified nine high burden local government areas in the federation reporting high number of cases and accounting for 51 per cent of the total number of infections in the country.
“We have also seen that though Nigeria’s caseload still lags behind several other countries, our large population and relatively high degree of mobility and urbanisation (50 per cent) places us at an increased risk for high transmissibility.
‘Therefore, our consideration of ease of restrictions has to balance lives and livelihoods and the slow and gradual phased approach should be science and data driven,” he said.