Breaking news: COVID-19: FG extends eased lockdown by two weeks

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The Presidential Task Force (PTF) has announced an extension of the eased lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

Unlike in recent times when it was President Muahammadu Buhari that disclosed the restriction orders in a nationwide broadcast, the PTF announced the new measures in its daily briefing in Abuja on Monday.

Nigerians had expected Buhari to address the nation on an update especially when the coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu has said on Channels TV that the President would address Nigerians on new measures at combating the global pandemic.

However the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Mr Femi Adesina had debunked the report of a Presidential address in a tweet on his verified Twitter page. “No presidential broadcast on COVID-19 updates today. None was planned. Rather, the Presidential Task Force will during its usual media briefings bring the nation up to speed on the next steps”, the tweet read.

The Secretary to the Federal Government and Chairman of the PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha who announced the extension of the eased lockdown also said the nationwide curfew from 8 pm to 6 am is still in force as well as the inter-state travel ban.

Mustapha acknowledged the modest progress the country has made noting however that it is too early to order the re-opening of the economy.

“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.

“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.”

He added “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)​The 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.”

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