President Buhari approves request by Covid-19 Task Force to put Nigeria on lockdown, again, to prevent escalation of second wave.

Enugu Metro checks indicate that the Task Force favoured drastic measures as a result of last week’s spike in infections.

  • Civil Servants below GL12 to stay home
  • Schools won’t reopen before 18 January 2021
  • Large social gatherings restricted
  • Restrictions placed on Religious gatherings
  • Entertainment places banned

The measures aim to restrict excessive merriment and indiscrinate mingling of those who defied official advice to shelve Christmas trips.

Nigeria is witnessing a massive movement of people who embark on December journeys especially to the South East region.

The pandemic does not seem to faze holiday makers who are braving odds to make it to their villages for Christmas.

One official privy to discussions leading to the decision told Enugu Metro that PTF members felt it was better “to be safe than sorry.”

“The massive surge of travellers for the Chinese New Year celebration assisted rapid worldwide spread of the disease,” she recalled.

What persuaded government to act was however the rising cases of Covid-19 infections recorded in the last two weeks.

Last week’s 5,178 new COVID-19 infections represent a 35 percent jump from previous week’s figure of 3,817 confirmed infections.

The country confirmed 1,145 cases on Thursday, a new daily record since the Coronavirus made a landfall in February.

Figures collated from NCDC reports over the past two weeks look similar to those that were returned between June and July at the height of the first wave.

Mr. Mustapha acknowledged yesterday that Nigeria is officially at the mercy of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

“We stand the risk of not just losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months but also losing the precious lives of our citizens.”

New lockdown directives

At today’s briefing, Mustapha who is PTF chair and Secretary to Government, directed Civil Servants below GL12 to stay home for five weeks.

He also directed that no school in the country should reopen before 18 January 2021.

Bars, nightclubs, pubs, event centres and other recreational venues are to be shut to customers, he said.

Transporters are to reduce vehicle passenger capacity by half and ensure that everyone observes established protocols.

He made an exception for restaurants which “provide services to hotel residents,” and those that serve takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins.”

Festivities and Religious Gatherings

Government has also asked that not more than 50 persons should be present at any informal and formal festivity events.

Mustapha listed such events as “weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, and end-of-year events.”

Managers of religious facilities were asked to ensure that they use 50 percent of sitting capacity to maintain social distancing.

Worshippers at religious events and people appearing in public places must wear face masks, Mustapha said.

President Buhari approved for Nigeria to be put on lockdown for a second time due to a spike in Covid-19 cases and surge in Christmas holiday travels.