By Hassan Zaggi
In what many may describe as another lockdown, the Federal Government has announced what it christened as the phase four of the restriction of movement beginning from Tuesday, May 11, 2021.
The Incident Manager of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Dr Muktar Mohammed, disclosed this at a media briefing in Abuja, Monday.
According to him: “Further to this recommendation and effective from 00:01hours on Tuesday, 11th May 2021, this phase 4 of the first restriction of movement shall come into effect.
“We shall maintain restrictions on mass gatherings outside work setting with a maximum of 50 persons in any enclosed space.
“Approved gatherings must be held in physical distancing measures and other none pharmaceutical measures in place.”
He further explained that :“On April 26, the PSC took a precautionary step by restricting travel from three countries, Brazil, India and Turkey where there is observed high incidences of cases, high mortality rate and wide spread prevalence of evidence of concern.
“The PSC continuous to enforce the surveillance system at the countries ports of entry. While our vaccine roll out has begun, there is a shortage in global supplies affected by the current situation in India.
“These translates to a delay in vaccinating a proportion of population and therefore, a risk of a large outbreak, especially in the context of poor adherence to the recommended public health and social measures.
“There are concerns about the none compliance to public health and social measures which are contained in the health protection regulation 2021, specifically the level of adherence to the use of face mask, physical distancing, temperature checks in public spaces, hand washing and limitation of space to large gathering remain very poor. In some areas, these are even none existent.
“In line with increasing risk of a surge in cases, the PSC is therefore maintaining the enforcement of the COVID-19 health protection regulation.
“This is to mitigate the risk of a spike in new cases while the nationwide vaccine rollout continues. The national response continues to maintain a balance between preserving lives and livelihood while warming for a long term epidemic control.”
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, advised Nigerians to avoid all situation that will tempt them to forget COVID-19 preventive measures and life saving non-pharmaceutical measures as they celebrate the Sallah.
He, however, vowed that the federal government shall continue to strengthen its preparedness, especially as it relates to Points of Entry and our case treatment centres, to coordinate response pillars and other agencies in preparation against a COVID-19 surge already being experienced in other countries.
The Minister disclosed that: “We are stockpiling PPEs, Lab. reagents and other commodities, placing order for drugs additional oxygen cylinders of various sizes, embarking on staff training, on repair of oxygen plants all over the country, with plans to build new oxygen plants, while examining our logistics for national oxygen and commodity supply chain.
”As we approach the Salah holidays, it is of particular importance to remain aware of risks involved in traveling gathering, celebrating and generally letting down our guards.”
He, therefore, urged all Nigerians to take responsibility for their personal and their family’s safety from COVID-19 infection.