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Pandemic: PTF extends lockdown ease by two weeks

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THE Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has extended the gradual easing of the lockdown by two weeks.

  The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, announced this late night yesterday during the briefing of the members of the task force in Abuja.

According to him, the PTF shares the pains of Nigerians but the future of the country is in their hands and subsequent decisions will depend greatly on their compliance.

“The reality is that 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. Any relaxation will only portend grave danger for our populace. Advisedly, the current phase of eased restriction will be maintained for another two weeks during which stricter enforcement and persuasion measures will be pursued,” he said.

Mustapha explained that the extension of the first phase of the lockdown ease was to enable other segments of the economy to prepare adequately for compliance with the guidelines, preparatory to reopening in the coming weeks.

The PTF chairman also disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved some recommendations of the task force.

“​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 midnight of May 18 to June 1,” he said.

Other recommendations approved by the President include intensifying efforts to communicate, identify, and manage COVID-19 cases; and elevating the level of community ownership of non-pharmaceutical interventions.

Mustapha also disclosed that the lockdown order in Kano State was extended by another two weeks.

Also, National Coordinator of the PTF, Sani Aliyu, said the allowance for security personnel deployed in the enforcement the COVID-19 lockdown was receiving attention.

Aliyu dropped the hint during PTF daily press briefing yesterday in Abuja.

According to him, provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for security agencies, especially the police is not direct responsibility of the PTF.

“We are currently processing this. We have been awaiting paperwork; the paperwork needs to be completed before we go ahead to pay. As regards the PPE, we distributed some PPE to frontline non-health workers last week, but a lot of agencies that deal with security do have budget lines for the PPE and we expect them to procure the PPE using their budget,” he said.

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