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BREAKING: Nigeria’s coronavirus case hit 174 as NCDC announces 23 new cases
BREAKING: Nigeria records 23 new cases of COVID-19, total number shoot up to 174

Coronavirus: FG reviews total lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, markets to open from 10am to 2pm

The Federal Government has relaxed total lockdown it imposed on the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The government, in the new guidelines it issued on Wednesday, stated that markets selling food would open from 10am to 2pm every other day.

Also, supermarkets and pharmacies are to open from 10am to 4pm every day, but must maintain a high level of hygiene.

The new guidelines also ban bus services during the lockdown. It adds that a mass gathering of more than 20 people is not allowed.

The Federal Government reviewed the lockdown on Wednesday just as COVID-19 cases rose to 174 with 35 new cases.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had on Tuesday put the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country at 139.

Following the rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday ordered lockdown of the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states.

He ordered residents of the FCT and the two states to stay at home during the 14-day lockdown, which began in Lagos and Abuja at 11pm on Monday.

The President, however, exempted health personnel, journalists, workers of telecommunication and power companies from the stay-at-home order.

On Monday, Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, and some prominent lawyers, including Mr Femi Falana, SAN, disagreed with the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, over the legality of the lockdown.

In the new guidelines released to journalists by the National Coordinator for the fight against COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, during a press conference organised by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, supermarkets, food stores, pharmacies and markets are exempted from the lockdown, but must operate under strict rules

He said all residents of the two states and the FCT would be confined to their homes, except for the purpose of performing an essential service, obtaining essential goods or service or seeking medical care.

Borders between Ogun and Lagos to be shut

The coordinator also said, “Borders linking the two states and the FCT to the rest of the country will be shut during the period of the lockdown, except for the transport of persons on essential duties, transport of food, fuel, manufactured goods or donated relief items. Security agencies are please invited to note these.”

Gathering of over 20 people banned

According to him, gatherings are prohibited, except for funeral services as guided by infection control and prevention regulations, for which social distancing rules still apply and crowds are limited to not more than 20 persons.

He also said, “Movement between and within the two affected states and the FCT is restricted, except for workers involved in the delivery of essential services, duties, foods and goods.

“Retail shops and malls must be closed except where essential goods are being sold. Shops and malls that are opened for this reason must enforce social distancing and hygienic measures in line with issued guidelines.

“Any business or organisation providing essential goods and services must identify the workers who will perform these activities.

Bus services suspended, except for essential services

Commuters services between cities and states, including passenger services, bus services, e-hailing services, maritime and air passenger transport are suspended for the period of the lockdown in the affected states and the FCT.”

He, however, noted that limited transport services would be allowed for the movement of workers, services and goods in response to COVID-19 and for the purpose of seeking medical attention or provision of essential services.

Such transport services, Aliyu said, must implement social distancing and hygienic measures.

Drivers on essential duties must ensure passenger spacing, disinfect vehicles

He stated, “With regard to the carriage of passengers, we must ensure spacing in between passengers, clean and disinfect frequently touched parts, including door and window handles, steering wheels and dashboards and encourage passengers to perform hand hygiene frequently.”

According to him, all owners of supermarkets must not allow anybody with high temperature to enter their premises, adding that customers and staff must wash their hands.

Products must be supplied to supermarkets between 5am and 9am

He added, “All deliveries of supplies and products for these supermarkets and food stores must be made between the hours of 5am and 9am.

Supermarkets, pharmacies to open between 10am and 4pm

“Porters should wash their hands before offloading products and goods. Store opening hours shall be between 10am and 4pm daily for customers. At any point in time, the total number of customers inside each store must not on average exceed a third of the store’s maximum capacity.”

The national coordinator added, “For pharmacies, the rules as per supermarkets apply, except that for pharmacies that run 24-hour schedules, they will be allowed to operate as usual.

Markets selling food to open from 10am to 2pm every other day

“In order for markets to operate, state and local government authorities, as well as leaders of market associations, must take a full responsibility for strict compliance with the following protocols:

“Only shops and stores selling food and groceries shall be allowed to open to customers between the hours of 10am and 2pm, every other day or less frequently.”

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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