From Emmanuel Iyoho
The Federal Government has said that there are no more formal restrictions on movement within the country as the nationwide curfew imposed from 12 midnight to 4am has been lifted.
The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 in a statement as observed by The Pioneer stated that the review of the country’s response to the pandemic was as a result of the declining number of cases of the pandemic.
PSC on COVID-19 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 government said the social restriction recommendations were revised in line with the three established thematic areas – movement, industry and labour, as well as community activities.
It stated that the safety protocols provided a baseline from which state governments could further build on to strengthen their responses based on their local circumstances.
“States should continue to consider them as the minimum guidelines required to ensure an acceptable level of epidemic control nationwide,” the statement said.
The committee stated 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.
“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,” the statement said.
It noted that no limitation on air travels, both domestic and international flights; both international and domestic travellersmust 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.
According to the committee: “No limitations on inter or intra-state travel; all vendors and service providers must abide by Augustine Vincent Umoh has called on Medical Doctors in Specialised fields to fill up vacancies istated 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.”
In the area of industry and labour, the government 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.
It urges Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure that 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 facemasks in closed offices and recommended safety protocol for all persons and discretionary use of appropriate measures.
It called 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.