By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved ‘safe’ reopening of schools and airports based on the report submitted to him by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 headed by Boss Mustapha.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja on Monday, Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, said, the President also approved lifting of ban on interstate travel outside the curfew period.
“I am pleased to inform you that Mr. President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later, the Phase Two of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020 through Midnight of Monday, 27 July, 2020,” he said.
According to the PTF chairman, the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect:
i. Maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated by the National Coordinator;
ii. Permission of movement across State borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July, 2020;
iii. Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular, the use of face masks in public places;
iv. Safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations;
v. Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable;
vi. Publication of revised guidelines around the three thematic areas of general movement, industry and labour; and community activities;
vii. Provision of technical support for states to mobilise additional resources for the response;
viii. Strengthening partnerships with States, Local Governments, traditional rulers, community/religious leaders and civil society to ensure increased public awareness and compliance with preventive guidelines;
ix. Encouraging State governments to empower Local Government Authorities to intensify contact tracing efforts and ensure stronger grassroots mobilisation to support the response;
x. Encourage States and Hospital authorities to ensure continuity of other health services to prevent fatalities from other life-threatening conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
xi. Deepening of collaboration with other mandate groups at States/Federal levels to harmonise the country’s COVID-19 response in the short, medium and long terms.
The National Coordinator will in due course announce and publish the details of the revised guidelines while relevant MDAs including Education, Transportation and Aviation will respectively consult further with stakeholders and issue guidelines for their sectors, Mustapha said