By Abujah Racheal
The federal government has reintroduced the restriction on mass gatherings after a spike in COVID-19 cases recorded in in Brazil, India and Turkey.
The Head of the Secretary of Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, who announced this said effective Tuesday May 11, said event centres and non-essential public places such as night clubs would remain closed till further notice.
Mohammed said that gathering of religious groups, weddings, have been reduced to 50 per cent attendance, while official engagements, meetings and conferences should continue to hold virtually.
He said government had also reintroduced curfew from midnight of Monday to 4p.m.
The committee directed security personnel to enforce the measures while state governments to set up a mobile tribunal for the prosecution of violators.
Mohammed said: “the National Response continues to focus on achieving a balance between preserving lives while working on a long term epidemic control. Effective from 00:01 hours on Tuesday, this phase four of restriction of movement shall come into effect.
“We shall maintain restrictions on mass gatherings of sidewalk settings, with a maximum of about 50 people in an enclosed space.
”Approved gatherings must be held to the physical distancing measures, and other non-pharmaceutical interventions in place.
Mohammed reading out the guidelines said: “on April 26, the PSE took a precautionary step by restricting travel from three countries, Brazil, India and wherever observed high incidence of cases have a totally different and widespread prevalence for virus.
“The PSC continues to reinforce the surveillance system and the country’s points of entry. While our vaccine rollout has began
”These translates to a delay in vaccinating a large proportion of the population and therefore a risk of a large outbreak, especially in the context of poor adherence to the recommended public and social gatherings.
“There are strong concerns about the non compliance to public health and social measures, which are contained in the health protection regulation 2021.
“Specifically, the level of adherence to the use of face mask, physical distancing, temperature checks in public spaces, hand washing, and limitations placed on large gatherings remain very poor, in some areas these are even non existent.
“In line with increasing risk of certain cases, the PSC is therefore maintaining enforcement of the COVID-19 Health Protection Division. This is to mitigate the risk of a spike in new cases, while the nationwide vaccine continues.
“The National Response continues to focus on achieving a balance between preserving lives while working on a long term epidemic control.
“Approved gatherings must be held to the physical distancing measures, and other non pharmaceutical interventions in place.
“Enforced temperature checks and robust monetary policy in all public settings, working his buildings, businesses, places of worship, etc.
“Access to government and commercial premises should be denied to any person who is not wearing face mask.
“We will continue to maintain restriction on reduction of work of government staff workers from GL-12 and below. We’ll also limited government meetings to virtual platforms as much as possible.
“Schools have already opened, however, they should consider the use of approved antigen based rapid diagnostics tests as recommended by the NCDC.
“All religious gatherings should be limited to less than 50 percent capacity to ensure physical distancing and use of face mask is mandatory.
“All recreational venues, gyms and indoor sports facilities are to close until 11 of June when the situation will be reviewed. However, non contact outdoor sports such as golf, polo and tennis are not affected by these.
“Gatherings in weddings, parties and meetings should also comply with 50 persons. Mass political gatherings, gatherings in the open, a large number of people are strictly to o adhere this COVID-19 protocol as issued by INEC.
“Violations of this protocols: Each state government is to set up mobile Tribunal for prosecution of violators as security agents are empowered to make an arrest for violations under the protection regulation.
“These safety protocols only provide a baseline from which state governors may further strengthen their responses based on that Local circumstances, states should continue to consider this minimum guidelines required to ensure an acceptable level of epidemic control.” (NAN)