President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the ‘phased and gradual easing’ of the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States while also announcing a total lockdown in Kano State.
These were part of the new measures announced by the President during his nationwide broadcast Monday (April 27, 2020) evening.
Giving reasons for the relaxation of the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun, President Buhari said that the Federal Government in collaboration with State Governments, have “jointly and collaboratively worked hard on how to balance the need to protect health while also preserving livelihoods, leveraging global best practices while keeping in mind our peculiar circumstances.
“We assessed how our factories, markets, traders and transporters can continue to function while at the same time adhering to NCDC guidelines on hygiene and social distancing.
“We assessed how our children can continue to learn without compromising their health.
“We reviewed how our farmers can safely plant and harvest in this rainy season to ensure our food security is not compromised.
“Furthermore, we also discussed how to safely transport food items from rural production areas to industrial processing zones and ultimately, to the key consumption centers.”
The President said the relaxation of the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun will take effect from Monday May 4, 2020 and will be “followed strictly aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measurers while allowing the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors.”
The lockdown in Kano State is to take immediate effect.
The President also announced a nationwide overnight curfew from 8pm to 6am while also banning all non-essential inter-state passenger travel until further notice.
Other measures announced by the President include partial and controlled inter-state movement of goods and services as well as ensuring strictly, the mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene.
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari commended Nigerians for their “resilience and patriotism” in the fight against the coronavirus while reserving special praise for the health workers who have been at the frontlines in the battle.
He highlighted some of the strides made by the government to include the procurement of insurance cover for 5,000 frontline health workers as well as the accreditation of 15 laboratories across Nigeria by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with an aggregate capacity to undertake 2,500 tests per day across the country.
Even though Nigeria has seen a huge rise in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 from 323 in 20 States two weeks ago to 1,273 cases across 32 States (as at April 26, 2020), many citizens have become more concerned about the dangers ‘hunger virus’ which they say is as a result of the shutdown of economic activities. The announcement of some relaxation will be a welcome one to many Nigerians.
The situation in Kano has however become dire in recent days with reports saying there has been a record of over 600 deaths in the state within the period even though there are still only 77 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the State. The cause of these death is yet to be known.