COVID-19: As cases soar globally, Nigeria takes precautionary measures


By Abba Gwale

Federal Government has re-introduced some measures which were put in place during the second COVID-19 wave in Nigeria which include restricted gatherings at worship centres and banned night clubs amid concerns about deadly COVID-19 strains in India, South Africa, Turkey and Brazil.

The World Health Organisation Regional Virologist, Dr Nicksy Gumede-Moeletsi, had said B.1.351 variant of the COVID-19 first found in South Africa, was spreading in 23 African countries and as of Sunday 9th May 2021, Africa had recorded 4,673,466 cases. South Africa with 1.59 million cases has the highest number of infections on the continent.

According to the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria has so far recorded 165,419 cases of the virus out of which 2,065 have died while 156,300 have been discharged.

India, whose cases have attracted global attention following shortage of oxygen and hospital spaces, has recorded 22,991,927 infections.

SAHELIAN TIMES yesterday reported that the National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Mohammed, at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday said a nationwide curfew would be introduced from midnight of Monday and be effective today, Tuesday, emphasizing that the curfew would run from 12 midnight till 4am daily.

He however said gatherings in worship places or weddings should not be more than 50 per cent capacity.

For civil servants, he said, “All Government staff on GL. 12 and below are to continue to stay at home until 11th June, 2021;

Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executives to be held accountable for enforcing NPI rules in their domains with frequent spot checks and ensure that all NPIs are observed. Mandatory and proper use of face masks in all government premises.”

He also urged non-government workers, encourage virtual meetings by offices. Avoid large meetings, decongest offices and ensure they are well-ventilated and they should encourage staff to work from home where possible.

“Mobile courts to enforce on-the-spot fines and close premises that repeatedly violate rules;

“Mandatory use of face masks and other NPIs. no face mask, no entry;

“Personalised services to ensure face masks are worn when selling goods or providing services and ensure provision of sanitizers and appropriate PPEs to all workers; and

“Encourage the use of approved Ag-Rapid Diagnostic Tests as recommended in the guidance for the use of approved COVID-19 AG-RDTS in Nigeria (on NCDC website).”

Mukhtar said security agents had been saddled with the responsibility of enforcing all the non-pharmaceutical measures put in place by the government.

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