President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday night announced the easing of the lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic with effect from Monday May 4th 2020. New measures will take effect.
The shutdown was imposed on March 30 for two weeks and renewed on April 13.
Kano State, whose positive virus cases rose steadily in the past two weeks, where people have also been dying of “strange ailments,” was slammed with two weeks total lockdown to check the virus spread.
The President unfolded this new plan during a broadcast to the nation – the third in 28 days – to address the COVID 19 issue.
He described the virus situation as “the biggest health challenge of our generation,” adding that the lockdown was eased because the rising figures of positive cases was far below experts projection of 2,000 infections withing one month.
Buhari said: “I have approved a phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States effective from Monday, 4th May, 2020.
To safeguard the economy, selected businesses will be allowed to open between 8am and 6pm.
“However, this will be followed strictly with aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measures while allowing the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors.” He added that there will be “nationwide overnight curfew from 8 p.m to 6 a.m except for essential services”.
The President said he reviewed the decision “based on the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the various federal government committees that have reviewed socio-economic matters and the Nigeria Governors Forum.”
Some of the ongoing measures to be enforced after the relaxation of the lockdown include: Wearing of face masks, social distancing, non-essential inter-state travels, restrictions on social and religious gathering and personal hygiene.
There will also be partial and controlled inter-state movement of goods and services from producers to consumers, to ensure food security.
This is the reinforcement of the decision by governors who last week banned inter-state travels for two weeks
The president said over 10,000 healthcare workers had been trained for their protection, adding that personal protective equipment were distributed to all the states while insurance cover for 5,000 frontline health workers had been procured.
He commended them for their work as he praised religious leaders for their support and governors for their collaboration with the Federal Government.
On palliatives, he urged Nigerians to exercise patience “as we continue to fine tune our logistical and distribution processes working with the state governments.”
He urged security agents to avoid infringement on rights of citizens as they enforce government’s decisions, adding: “I have instructed that the personnel of all the security agencies be provided with the necessary personal protective equipment against infection.”