Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
THE Federal Government has said it would no longer tolerate flouting of eased lockdown guidelines.
Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on coronavirus (COVID-19), Dr. Sani Aliyu, who stated this at yesterday’s briefing in Abuja, said government was concerned about the several reports on the flouting of the COVID-19 guidelines.
This is as Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, warned that fatalities will increase with the increasing number of positive cases.
“We have said that the increasing number of cases should be a warning that fatalities will increase too; but there are measures we can take, to limit case fatality rate.
“Since majority of fatalities are over 50 years of age, or have pre-existing ailments like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, kidney disease, HIV, among others, this group of citizens has to be specially protected.
“This protection begins with limiting their exposure to risks of COVID-19 infection by urging stay at home, except there is urgent and dire need to go out; to wear a face mask or a covering at any time, once outside the house, or when inside the house with persons who may have been exposed,” Ehanire said.
Aliyu said the relaxed lockdown was done not because COVID-19 has gone but to ensure the economy does not collapse.
“The fact that we are receiving many reports on the flouting of the guidelines is unacceptable. As I said in the past, COVID-19 is far from over globally, neither is it over in Nigeria.
“There’s no doubt that a lot of community transmission is happening and it continues to increase across the states. Now, more than ever before, if you go out you’re more likely to get COVID-19 than before.
“Your risk of acquiring COVID-19 because of the numbers we have now is more than three, four weeks or five weeks ago when we had a lockdown, so there really isn’t any room or relaxation at this point.
“The reason why we had to relax the lockdown was in order to sustain the livelihood of Nigerians particularly those who depend on a daily income for survival as well as to sustain our economy, but it wasn’t because COVID-19 has gone and it wasn’t because we should be more relaxed in terms of our prevention measures.
“In order to balance the issue of livelihoods with public safety, we issued advisories, we issued protocols that will guide the relaxation of the lockdown in order to mitigate the high risk of transmission of the virus among us and to also ensure public safety.
“We have noticed that a lot of people do not wear masks in public spaces. It is mandatory for masks to be worn in public spaces.