Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidential Task Force on coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has declared that Nigeria is not yet ready for a full-reopening of the economy.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of PTF, Boss Mustapha, said this at Thursday’s media briefing of the task force in Abuja.
This is even as he disclosed that arrangements have been concluded to test additional 100,000 at the various National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camps nationwide, when they re-open.
The orientation camps are scheduled for reopening on November 10.
The SGF said after a very careful review of the national response, the PTF believed 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 said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that 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; Re-commencement 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.”
Other measures approved by President include: “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 reflected in the table above;
“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; and Maintaining the already established non-pharmaceutical interventions nationwide in order to flatten the curve.”
Mustapha, also noted that States have achieved the testing target of one percent of population: FCT and Lagos closely followed by three states that have crossed 50 percent, 26 States were yet to reach 25 percent of testing target.
Mustapha said, the country now has a molecular laboratory for COVID-19 testing in every state of the country and the additional funding provided by the Federal Government, should help to scale up testing for COVID-19.
He said the PTF has also concluded arrangements to execute the National Testing Week as part of the arrangements to ramp up testing; and that 27,000 international passengers have arrived Nigeria since the resumption of international flights.