The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has directed civil servants from level 12 and below to resume work.
Chairman of the PTF and secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, made the announcement yesterday in Abuja during the briefing of the task force.
LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that previously only civil servants from level 12 and above were allowed to go to work.
Mustapha also announced that the third phase of the eased lockdown had been extended by another four weeks.
According to him, the PTF believes that while recent numbers point to a likely flattening of the curve consistent with emerging epidemic control, Nigeria is not yet ready for a full-reopening of the economy.
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the new recommendations.
He said: “Nigeria further relaxes the restrictions in this third phase of the response, while maintaining key limitations to curb the risk of a spike in cases.
The major changes proposed by the PTF are as follows: Gradual and safe re-opening of schools and NYSC camps; recommencement of sporting leagues, in particular all outdoor activities such as football, sustaining the midnight-4am curfew on movement nationwide; and removal of the limitation on civil servants allowed to come to work.
He listed other measures approved by the president as maintaining the third phase of the National Response to COVID-19 for a period of four weeks with effect from 00.01am on Monday, 19th October, 2020 in line with amendments to address economic, socio-political and health considerations.
“Sustain engagement with states and local governments to improve community sensitisation and sample collection.
“Continue to monitor the impact of school re- opening and the commencement of international travel and enforcing compliance with the protocols set out for the safe resumption of these activities.
“Maintaining the already established non-pharmaceutical interventions nationwide in order to flatten the curve,” he said.
Mustapha warned that if Nigeria must avoid a second wave and continue to flatten the curve, it is imperative to jointly address these concerns and the PTF appeals strongly for collaboration and for all hands to be on deck.
Over the last six weeks, he noted that the PTF had carried out activities to boost the country’s case management capacity, both in hospitals and at home.
According to him, this has resulted in increased risk communications and community engagement activities, alongside collaboration with most state governments.
“The reopening of the international airspace has been largely successful with most passengers following the laid down regulations and adhering to testing requirements. We have not seen a spike of cases since the reopening of the airspace,” he stated.
He, however, noted the huge challenge posed to the national response by states as a result of poor engagement which manifests strongly in the form of low level of sample collection across the country.
“As at date, only the FCT and Lagos have achieved the target of testing one percent of its population followed by three states that have crossed 50 per cent (Plateau, Gombe and Rivers), 26 others are yet to measure up to 25 per cent.
“This is considered a serious problem which is further compounded by the increasing general apathy and disbelief about the risk of COVID-19 in Nigeria,” he added.
BY JONATHAN NDA- ISAIAH,