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Nigerian government says reopening of economy will take 6 weeks

The ban on passenger flights and interstate travel will remain in place.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for the control of COVID-19, Boss Mustapha [Twitter/@DigiCommsNG]

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, 2020, 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, 2020, chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, said the task force has prepared sector-specific guidelines to direct the reopening announced by Buhari.

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"The first strategy is designed to reduce the pain of socioeconomic disruptions while strengthening public health response to ultimately revive the economy and provide succour to the poor and vulnerable," he said.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation directed that the management of offices and businesses that will reopen next week must take preparatory steps which includes fumigation and decontamination of offices, application of the mandatory use of face masks, and the provision of hand sanitisers and handwashing facilities for staff.

He said businesses must also make arrangements for physical distancing on their premises and provide thermometers for temperature checks.

He also appealed that persons living with disabilities must be considered in designing measures to keep people safe while businesses resume activities.

Mustapha said the 8 pm to 6 am curfew announced by Buhari will apply nationwide, stressing that the ban on passenger flights and interstate travel will remain in place, except for essential services.

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He said new returnees from abroad who have to be allowed into the country will be placed under supervised isolation for at least 14 days.

Gatherings of more than 20 people outside the workplace are also prohibited, according to Mustapha.

The SGF encouraged state governments to provide leadership in the enforcement of the new measures by partnering with relevant associations.

"I must emphasise that the easing of restrictions and introduction of revised measures do not amount to the end of the battle against COVID-19.

"Indeed, it signifies the need for more vigilance, stringent compliance, so that we're not lured into complacency capable of diminishing the progress we've made so far," he said.

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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.

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