The Federal Government has extended the phase two of eased COVID-19 lockdown in the country by one week, from July 29 to August 6, 2020.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF), Boss Mustapha, made the disclosure at Monday’s briefing in Abuja.
Mustapha said that the extension was necesitated due to the upcoming Sallah (Eid-el-Kabir) festivities, which coincided with the expiration of the current phase.
He added that PTF had also secured the permission of President Muhammadu Buhari to retain the existing COVID-19 guidelines until August 6.
“You will recall that we briefed the nation on the 29th of June, 2020, sequel to the approval of Mr. President for the extension of phase two of the eased lockdown by another four weeks. That extension is due to expire on Wednesday, 29th July, 2020, having commenced on June 30th, 2020,” he said.
”The PTF has continued to evaluate the developments as well as the level of compliance nationwide and has regrettably come to the inevitable conclusion that majority of Nigerians, irrespective of status, creed, and level of education continue to live in denial on the virulent nature of the virus, and consistently breach the guidelines and non-pharmaceutical measures put in place.
“We informed you two weeks ago that the process of submitting the 6th interim report and recommendations for the next steps had commenced. The PTF has reached advanced stages of the process.
“It has also considered that due to the upcoming Sallah (Eid-el-Kabir) festivities, which coincide with the expiration of the current phase, it would be prudent to extend by one week, from 29th July, 2020, till Thursday, 6th August, 2020. It has accordingly secured permission to retain the existing guidelines until that date.”
Mustapha added that efforts are ongoing to fast-track the process of “reopening of the international airspace”, while “the arrival protocols for passengers on inbound flights are being firmed up for seamless testing and detection.”
While noting that 65 percent of COVID-19 fatalities have occurred among people above the age of 50, he urged Nigerians to adhere strictly to the established protocols for preventing the spread of the virus.
He called for caution during the Sallah festivities, and advised Muslims to avoid massive gatherings at Eid grounds and pray at area mosques.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 648 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of infection in the country to 41,180.