COVID-19: Presidential Task Force says govt. offices, others can open from May 4

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The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 says Federal Government establishments, banks, construction companies, manufacturing and others can commence operation from on May, 4, after four weeks lockdown.

The National Coordinator of the PTF on COVID-19, Dr Aliyu Sani, stated this during the daily briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday in Abuja.

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Aliyu said that the resumption would be based on specific grade levels.

He said construction, manufacturing and food processing companies would be allowed to open, while banks would operate from 8a.m. to 2p.m. daily – all observing the new restrictions put in place by the government.

He stated that the temperature test, respiratory hygiene and restriction of gathering of not more than 20 persons would be introduced.

Sani said the task force would be engaging with state governments to make sure that the PTF had a common approach to the opening of offices.

“For government offices, government staff will be allowed to resume from May 4, but it will be based on specific grade levels and specific days so that we can reduce the amount of congestion that we might have in our government offices.

“We will be discussing further with state governments to make sure that we have a common approach to this.

“Banks will be allowed to open but there will be restriction in the opening hours to between 8a.m. to 2p.m. and together with all the other preventive measures I have already mentioned,” he stated.

He noted that in addition to this, from the point of agriculture and rural development, companies involved in food processing would commence operation.

Sani maintained that construction sites and critical road projects would be allowed, while waivers would be provided by state governments to enable movement.

For the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries, he encouraged them to shift work and limit staff to only 30 to 50 per cent to maintain social distancing and pharmacy shops may remain open overnight.

Sani, however, said that restrictions on social gatherings remained suspended pending review of the new measures put in place by the government.

He said that restaurants and schools remained closed, while noting that the neighbourhood markets would be allowed to operate during the relaxed lockdown.

He said: “Restaurants will not be opened to the public but will be allowed to engage in home delivery of food.

“Schools will remain closed till further evaluation. Schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching.

“Social activities such as the use of recreational parks, communal sports, concert, social parties and movie theaters will be suspended until further review.

“Neighborhood markets will continue to open with the same standard and restrictions that we have applied in the past as well as supermarkets and retail stores.”

He urged those above 65 years old and with mobility challenge to avoid co-mingling with the general public to protect themselves from contractimg COVID-19.

“There will be general pieces of advice, for instance, discouraging persons above the age of 65 and those with mobility challenge from co-mingling with the general public so that they protect themselves from catching COVID-19 because they are the ones that are most likely to develop severe illness.

“We will be providing additional details and hopefully the implementation guidelines and the protocols will follow over the next day or two to allow businesses and offices to prepare for these changes,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), declined comment on the number of the agency’s officers infected with the virus.

Ihekweazu said that healthcare workers have been ‘tremendous’ in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The DG disclosed that about 90 per cent of all COVID-19 patients would recover irrespective of medical intervention.

He noted that a larger percentage of infected persons actually recovered from the infection than many other viral illnesses, “so there’s no reason to be despondent”.(NAN)