The Federal Government has announced a number of new restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 announced on Monday, December 21, 2020 that Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, similar to the second wave of infections globally.
After months of recording low figures on a daily basis, Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases have spiked in December with nearly 11,000 infections detected by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in three weeks.
PTF chairman, Boss Mustapha, said during the task force’s media briefing in Abuja that the current pattern of spread is likely caused by general lack of compliance for public health preventive measures.
He said the disregard has led to a sudden increase in social gatherings involving large congregations from different parts of the country, gatherings he described as “super-spreader events”.
He said the relaxation of previous restrictions on social and economic activities has also contributed to the uptick in the number of new cases recorded in Nigeria.
To combat the new surge, Mustapha said bars, night clubs, pubs, event centres, and recreational venues are to be closed nationwide.
He said all restaurants should also shut down, except for those providing services to hotel residents, takeaways, home deliveries, and drive-ins.
Formal and informal festivity events like weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, and end-of-year events have also been restricted to not more than 50 people.
Religious centres are to also operate at less than 50% capacity of the facility of use, with other safety measures strictly enforced.
“Where more than 50 persons are attending, any such events, the gathering should be held outdoors only,” the PTF chairman said.
Mustapha, also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), also announced that public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50% of their capacity, in compliance with social distancing rules.
The PTF also advised state governments to reduce overcrowding in public spaces by encouraging virtual meetings in government offices, and ensuring staff work from home where possible.
The task force said schools must remain closed nationwide till January 18, 2021, to enable the measures introduced to take effect.
People over the age of 60 and/or with co-morbidities are also encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds, while all non-essential travels, both domestic and international, are discouraged.
The latest advisories will be implemented over the next five weeks, according to Mustapha