COVID-19: PTF relaxes restrictions, warns against spike

Infection of the coronavirus  is subsiding in Nigeria but government is not in a hurry to declare its departure.

The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 believes the curve is flattening with less than 200 daily infections, indicating a progressive fall in the case fatality rate of 1.9%.

“The reduction in the test positivity ratio to less than 5% further corroborates the belief that the epidemic curve is flattening, despite the unsatisfactory testing rate in the country attributable to general apathy among the populace”, said the Chairman of PTF, Boss Mustapha.

He disclosed that only Lagos state and the FCT have achieved the target of testing one percent of their population while only three states – Plateau, Gombe and Rivers attained half of the set target.

Mustapha said Nigeria is not ready for a full reopening of the economy although the President has  approved that 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;
✓ Restoration 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  the President include:
(i) 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;
(ii) Sustain engagement with States and Local Governments to improve community sensitisation and sample collection;
(iii) 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
(iv) Maintaining the already established non-pharmaceutical interventions nationwide in order to flatten the curve.

The National Coordinator, Dr. Sanni Aliyu said  spectators will not be allowed at sports venues. Mass gathering is still limited to 50 persons.

He said civil servants of all grades can now return to work in shifts while supervisors must ensure strict  compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

He said curve remains from 12 midnight till 4 am nationwide; air transportation is now fully restored; managers of commercial outfits and hospitality centres must ensure compliance with non-pharmaceuitical measures while bars and night clubs remain closed.

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