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Nigeria Not Ready For Full Opening Of The Economy, Govt Extends ‘Gradual Ease Of Lockdown’

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The Nigerian government said on Monday that the country is not yet ready to fully reopen the economy, extending the recent presidential order on gradual ease of lockdown by another two weeks.

In the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari addressing Nigerians as originally planned, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja.

Mustapha said in spite of the modest progress made, Nigeria is not yet ready for full opening of the economy “and tough decisions have to be taken for the good of the greater majority.”

According to him, any relaxation will only portend grave danger for our populace.

He said, “​Advisedly, the current phase of eased restriction will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued.

“The two weeks extension of Phase One of the eased restriction is also to enable other segments of the economy to prepare adequately for compliance with the guidelines, preparatory to reopening in the coming weeks.

“Mr President has approved the following: (i) ​The measures, exemptions, advisories, and scope of entities allowed to reopen under phase one of the eased locked down, shall be maintained across the federation for another two weeks effective from 12 00 midnight today (18th May, 2020 to 1st June, 2020);

“(ii) ​intensifying efforts to ‘tell (communicate), trace (identify) and treat (manage)’ cases;

“(iii) ​elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions;

“(iv)​ Maintain the existing lockdown order in Kano for an additional two weeks;

“(v) ​Imposition of precision lockdown in states, or in metropolitan/high-burden LGAs, that are reporting a rapidly increasing number of cases, when the need arises. This would be complemented with the provision of palliatives and continued re-evaluation of the impact of the interventions; and

“(vi)​ Aggressive scale-up of efforts to ensure that communities are informed, engaged and participating in the response with enhanced public awareness in high-risk states.”

President Buhari had on April 27, announced a “phased and gradual easing” of the lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states, as he declaring a nationwide curfew with effect from May 4. He had also ordered a ban on all inter-state movements.

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