NIGERIA’S federal government has unveiled a six-week plan broken down into three tranches detailing how it will gradually lift all the restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the federal government announced lockdowns in the Federal Capital Territory and Lagos and Ogun States over a month ago, several other states have also followed suit. Last Monday, President Buhari announced that on May 4, the restrictions in the three territories will be eased and now, this will be followed up with a nationwide relaxation plan.
This reopening of the economy will be done in phases, spanning a total of six weeks and broken into three tranches of two weeks each. As part of its easement process, the federal government has limited the total operational hours for all commercial banks nationwide, starting from Monday, to only six hours per day from 8 am to 2pm.
Also all arrivals in Nigeria from abroad will now undergo mandatory supervised isolation for at least 14 days. Nigeria’s federal government also announced its decision to purchase 107,000 cartridges to be used in the deployment of the GeneXpert machine already configured for the testing of people for the virus.
Yesterday, Boss Mustapha, the chairman of the presidential task force on Covid-19, said the phased reopening of the economy was designed to reduce the pains of socio-economic disruptions. He explained that the overnight curfew imposed by President Buhari during his nationwide broadcast is applicable nationwide from 8pm to 6am daily, effective from Monday.
Mr Mustapha said: “In line with Mr President’s directive in paragraphs 38-41 of his broadcast, the presidential task force has developed sector-specific guidelines. The gradual reopening of the economy will span a total of six weeks broken into three tranches of two weeks each.
“This phased strategy is designed to reduce the pains of socio-economic disruptions while strengthening our public health response, which would ultimately reduce the recovery of our economy and provide succour to the poor and vulnerable.” He called for collaboration with the state governments, asking them to coordinate market and transport associations to implement the directive of the president.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State government has placed four hotels on standby in case they need to be used for isolation centres. In addition, pharmacies will remain open overnight while construction of critical bridges will be allowed and restaurants will not open to the public but will be allowed to engage in home delivery service.