This is coming following the surge in Covid-19 cases across 23 African countries and in India, whose cases have attracted global attention following shortage of oxygen and hospital spaces, has recorded 22,991,927 infections.
According to reports, Africa has recorded 4,673,466 cases. South Africa with 1.59 million cases has the highest number of infections in the continent as at Sunday.
However, in order to prevent a similar occurrence in Nigeria, the National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Mohammed, who stated preventive measures on Monday, said a nationwide curfew would be introduced from midnight of Monday.
Mohammed stated that, “Further to these recommendations and effective from 0001hours of Tuesday, May 11, 2021, this Phase IV of the phased restriction of movement shall come into effect. We shall maintain restrictions of mass gatherings outside work settings with a maximum number of 50 people in an enclosed space.”
He added that, “Approved gatherings must be held with physical distancing measures and other non-pharmaceutical interventions in place. Enforced temperature checks and no mask, no entry policy in all public settings; workplace buildings, businesses and places of worship. Access to government and commercial premises should be denied to persons without face masks.”
According to him, hotels are to remain open while adhering to all non-pharmaceutical interventions, while schools are to deploy the use of antigen-based rapid tests as recommended in the guidelines by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
He added that indoor recreational facilities and gyms were to close until June 11 when the situation would be reviewed while non-contact outdoor sports such as gulf, Polo and tennis were not affected.
Mohammed disclosed that, “In terms of working arrangement, virtual meetings should be encouraged to take place as much as possible. We should avoid large meetings, decongest offices and ensure they are well ventilated. States have been asked to institute mobile courts to help enforce on the spot fines and close premises that violate these prohibitions.”
“On communal services, markets and stores, they should ensure that there are spot checks of commercial premises and observed or mandatory non-pharmaceutical interventions. Facility owners and managers and store owners are to ensure that physical distancing is observed,” he stressed.
He also said that, “All mass gatherings remain restricted to 50 persons except where explicit permission has been granted by the state governments. Hotels are to remain open, but they must observe or non-pharmaceutical interventions. Schools have already opened. However, they should consider the use of approved antigen based rapid diagnostics tests as recommended by the NCDC.”
Mohammed mandated that, “All religious gatherings should be limited to less than 50% capacity to ensure physical distancing and use of face masks are mandatory. All recreational venues, gyms and indoor sports facilities are to close until June 11 when the situation will be reviewed. However, non-contact outdoor sports such as golf, polo and tennis are not affected by these.”
He also stated that, “Gatherings in weddings, parties and meetings should also comply with 50 persons. Mass political gatherings, gatherings in the open, a large number of people are strictly to adhere to this COVID-19 protocol. Event centres, night clubs shall remain closed until further notice. Restaurants are to provide eat-in at 50% capacity and provide takeaways where available.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has stated that, “It is important to remain aware of risks involved in traveling, gathering, celebrating and generally letting down our guards. I urge everyone to take responsibility for their personal and their family’s safety from COVID-19 infection.”
He added that, “Experience from India and other countries showed us that the terrible third wave that has caused so much loss of human lives, was facilitated and fuelled by events immediately related to political campaigns, elections and religious gatherings.”
“These contributed greatly to the explosion of cases that India is currently battling with today. As we celebrate the Sallah days ahead, let us remember this warning and ensure that we avoid all situations that tempt us to forget Covid-19 preventive measures and life-saving non-pharmaceutical measures,” he added.