FG extends lock down by four weeks.

The second phase of the gradual easing of the lockdown in the country has been extended by four weeks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has said.

Mr. Mustapha while speaking at the bi-weekly Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing, on Thursday, said the extension of the second phase was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

”After due consideration of the recommendations, Mr. President approved the following: Maintaining the current phase of the National Response to COVID-19 for another four weeks in line with the modifications reflected in the Report, ” he said.

Nigeria imposed its first round of lockdown in March. Mr. Buhari on April 27 announced the gradual easing of the five-week lockdown in FCT, Lagos and Ogun State.

The lockdown was eased to a nationwide night curfew (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) from May 4 to May 17.

The curfew was later amended by many state governments to commence from 10:00 p.m.

The first phase of the relaxed lockdown was extended by two weeks and elapsed midnight June 1. The second phase which commenced on June 2 and elapsed on June 29 was extended by four weeks.

The additional four weeks elapsed midnight July 29 but was further extended by one week due to the Salah celebrations and elapses midnight today, August 6.

Nigeria currently has about 44,890 confirmed cases of the virus, including 927 deaths.

Mr. Mustapha, who is also the head of the PTF, said the extension is an opportunity to:

“Strengthen collaboration with other mandate groups at federal/state levels to harmonize the country’s COVID-19 response, on the short, medium and long-term basis.

“Mandate State authorities and the FCT, to enforce non-pharmaceutical guidelines, primarily the use of face masks in public appearance and places.”

He said the federal government will continue to partner with states and local governments to improve community sensitization and engagement to the COVID-19 response.

He encouraged state governments to collaborate with their local counterparts to intensify necessary measures such as contact tracing, grassroots mobilization and risk communication.

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