The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has announced more details for Nigeria's gradual reopening of the economy set to commence on Monday, May 4, 2020.

President Muhammadu Buhari had announced new nationwide measures earlier this week to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease, four weeks after he placed Lagos, Ogun, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja on total lockdown.

The president said the lockdown will end on May 4, after which economic activities are allowed to gradually restart, lamenting about the economic damage caused by the disruption.

While speaking during a media briefing on Wednesday, April 29, the National Coordinator of the PTF, Sani Aliyu, said companies involved in food processing can commence operation on Monday, while construction of critical roads will also be allowed provided waivers are granted by state governments to enable movement.

Banks have been allowed to fully open too, but only between the hours of 8 am and 2 pm.

Pharmaceutical industries have also been directed to commence scaled up operation, but encouraged to limit staff to only 30% to 50% to maintain social distancing.

Sani Aliyu [NACA Nigeria]
Sani Aliyu [NACA Nigeria]

Government staff will also be allowed to resume next week, but Aliyu said it will be based on specific grade levels and specific days to reduce congestion.

Neighbourhood markets will continue to open with the same standard restrictions applied in the past, same as supermarkets and retail stores.

This will not include restaurants which will remain closed to the public. However, Aliyu said they'll be allowed to engage in home delivery of food.

Schools across the country, shut down in March by President Buhari, will remain closed for further evaluation, and encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching.

Social activities such as the use of recreational parks, sports, concerts, social parties and movie theatres will be suspended for further review.

Public transport vehicles will also be allowed to resume operations fully, but certain regulations will be announced later.

Aliyu discouraged people over the age of 65 and people with pre-existing medical conditions from mingling with the general public to protect themselves as they're most vulnerable to infection.

He said additional details will be provided over the next few days, but cautioned Nigerians to take preventive measures very seriously.

"We're really so far from controlling this pandemic and we need to continue to work hard, all of us, to make sure it resolves," he appealed.

Aliyu said restriction of gatherings of more than 20 people remain discouraged, and that the mandatory use of face masks in public will kick into effect next week.

Mandatory temperature checks will also be conducted in public places.

Nigeria has recorded 1,532 coronavirus cases in 33 states and the FCT, as of April 28.

255 people have recovered, but 44 people have died.