From Fred Itua, Abuja
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Abuja, FCT Minister Mohammad Bello has announced new measures to contain the spread.
As part of the new measures, the Minister has ordered that bars, night clubs, pubs, events and recreational venues in the FCT be shut for the next five weeks.
The decision followed an emergency COVID-19 meeting as part of efforts to contain the spread of the second wave of the pandemic in the Territory.
The Minister said Abuja is considered as one of the epicentres of the virus in this second wave. He ascribed the rise to a lack of compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions by residents, particularly rules applying to face masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene.
‘All restaurants, except those providing services to hotel residents, takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins are to remain closed. All informal and formal festivity events, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end of year events, etc, in the FCT, are restricted to not more than 50 persons,’ the Minister declared.
‘Facilities for religious events are restricted to less than 50% of capacity of use during which physical distancing, mandatory use of face masks and hand hygiene are to be strictly enforced.
‘Events of more than 50 persons are to be held outdoors only and virtual meetings are strongly encouraged. Public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50% of their capacity in compliance with social distancing rules.’
The Minister has also asked all employees of the Federal Capital Territory Administration and the six Area Councils of the FCT on grade level 12 and below to work from home for the next five weeks.
He added: ‘The Abuja Market Management Limited and the various market associations should work together to ensure compliance of all the guidelines on facial coverings, hand hygiene and physical distancing. The FCT Administration will not hesitate to close down any market or business premises found in contravention of these guidelines.
‘As resolved in its stakeholder’s meeting held on the 14th of December 2020, the FCT Administration remains committed to enforcing all COVID-19 guidelines as issued.
‘Enforcement teams have been mandated to carry out the arrest of violators and prosecute them through the mobile courts’ system. Residents are enjoined to comply fully with all health and safety protocols to help curtail the spread of the virus in the FCT.’