The Federal Government has reintroduced COVID-19 restrictions across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The new directive is expected to take effect from midnight of today (Tuesday).

This was announced by the National Incident Manager of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC), Dr. Mukhtar Muhammed in the new guidelines on Phase Four of Ease of Lockdown.

Under the new restrictions; bars, recreational centers have been shut down, restrictions on public gatherings have been imposed and a nationwide curfew from 12 a.m to 4 a.m has been reintroduced.

Speaking at a PSC press conference, Muhammed said the federal government embarked on the new measures as a response to the concern about the non-compliance to public health and social measures contained in the Health Protection Regulation of 2021.

Also, security agencies are to enforce the use of Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) in the transport sector, including the use of face masks, temperature checks, and hand sanitisers.

In addition, there would be the enforcement of the mandatory requirement of seven-day quarantine for all international passengers arriving from foreign destinations, while institutional quarantine will apply for inbound passengers from Brazil, Turkey and India.

He added that access to government and commercial premises would be denied to any person not wearing face mask while government said it would continue to maintain restriction on the resumption of work for the government staff on GL 12 and below.

“These safety protocols only provide a baseline from which state government may further build on to strengthen their responses based on their local circumstances. States should continue to consider the minimum guidelines required to ensure an acceptable level of epidemic control.

“State governments have been asked to institute mobile court to help enforce or impose fines and close premises that violate these provisions. These measures are to enable the government to prevent the acute cycle of the resurgence of the pandemic,” Muhammed said.

The guidelines will also limit government meetings to virtual platforms as much as possible while maintaining restrictions on physical meetings including official trips, oversight visits, and board meetings.

Event centres, bars and night clubs shall remain closed until further notice, while all recreational facilities, gyms and indoor facilities are to close until June 11 when the situation would be reviewed.

Also, hotels are to remain open but must ensure NPIs, while schools must consider Antigen-based Rapid Diagnostic Tests as recommended in the guidelines. Religious gatherings should be limited to less than 50 per cent capacity to ensure physical distancing and use of face masks is mandatory for all worshippers.

Gatherings like weddings, parties and meetings should also comply with the not more than 50 persons provided.

Regardless, Muhammed said that non-contact outdoor sports like golf, polo, and lawn tennis are not affected by the guideline.

Mohammed Mane
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