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COVID-19 Lockdown Returns As FG Imposes Midnight Curfew, Restricts Mass Gathering

The federal government has reintroduced the restriction on mass gatherings after a spike in COVID-19 cases recorded in some countries.

At its briefing on Monday, the presidential steering committee on COVID-19 also announced an immediate nationwide curfew from midnight till 4 am.

Mukhtar Mohammed, the committee’s national incident manager, said event centres and non-essential public places such as night clubs would remain closed till further notice.

Religious gatherings are to be limited to less than 50 percent capacity to ensure physical distancing while social events such as weddings and parties are to be attended by not more than 50 persons.

The committee directed security personnel to enforce the measures while state governments to set up a mobile tribunal for the prosecution of violators.

Mohammed said: “The National Response continues to focus on achieving a balance between preserving lives while working on a long term epidemic control. Effective from 00:01 hours on Tuesday 11th of May 2022, this phase four of restriction of movement shall come into effect.

“We shall maintain restrictions on mass gatherings of sidewalk settings, with a maximum of about 50 people in an enclosed space. Approved gatherings must be held to the physical distancing measures, and other non-pharmaceutical interventions in place.

“We will continue to maintain restriction on reduction of work of government staff workers from GL-12 and below. We’ll also limited government meetings to virtual platforms as much as possible. While we maintaining restrictions on physical meetings, including official trips, oversight visits and board meetings.

“All recreational venues, gyms and indoor sports facilities are to close until 11 of June when the situation will be reviewed. Mass political gatherings, gatherings in the open, a large number of people are strictly to o adhere this COVID-19 protocol as issued by INEC.

“Event centres, night clubs shall remain closed until further notice. Restaurants are to provide eat-in at 50% capacity and provide takeaways where available.”

The incident manager also said there will no be restriction of movement within the country, adding: “Only essential travellers are encouraged, and both international and domestic travellers must abide by all existing protocols.”

The new measures come amid concerns over the surge in infections and resultant deaths recorded in some countries particularly Brazil, India and Turkey.

The federal government had earlier announced that foreigners who recently visited the three countries will no longer be allowed to enter Nigeria.

It also reduced the validity period of the pre-boarding COVID-19 PCR test for all Nigeria-bound passengers from 96 to 72 hours.

In India, which has been the worst hit in recent weeks, 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths were reported on Monday, taking the country’s tally to 22.66 million with 246,116 deaths as hospitals remain overwhelmed.

Nigeria has so far recorded 165,419 cases of the virus out of which 2,065 have died while 156,300 have been discharged.

Efforts are also being made to vaccinate as many Nigerians as possible although at a snail’s pace: 1.7 million shots administered as of Monday, mostly to health workers and other priority groups.

TheCable

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