Federal government announces fresh COVID-19 restrictions

The new restrictions commence on midnight of Tuesday.

President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, received the Presidential Task Force on COVID19’s End of Year report from members of the Task Force led by SGF, Boss Mustapha. [Twitter/@BashirAhmaad]

These measures will apply to all of the nation's 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Abuja; and will kick off at midnight of Tuesday, May 11, 2021, according to a member of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Dr. Mukhtar Mohammed.

The federal government calls this 'Phase IV' of Nigeria's COVID-19 containment efforts.

Here is a rundown of the new restrictions:

  1. Mass gatherings in public spaces have been restricted to 50 people at any given time, with physical distancing measures respected at all times.
  2. No one would be allowed access to government institutions or facilities without a face mask.
  3. All public sector meetings will be conducted virtually.
  4. Bars, event centers and nightclubs are to remain closed until further notice. Restaurants are to provide eat-in services at 50 percent capacity and provide take-aways where available.
  5. The midnight to dawn curfew (12am-4am) which has been in place in several states since 2020, will continue until further notice.
  6. Only essential international travels are encouraged, and all existing COVID-19 protocols are to be strictly adhered to.
  7. Intra-state travels are still allowed however, but not beyond curfew hours.
  8. Religious gatherings and social events such as weddings and 'Owambes' would hold with 50 percent of maximum capacity.
  9.  Security personnel have been mandated to dutifully enforce adherence to these and existing measures.

The new measures arrive amid fears that Nigeria could experience another wave of the virus, with death tolls in India and in other parts of the world spiralling out of control.

Nigeria has confirmed 165,419 COVID-19 cases, 156,297 recoveries and 2,065 COVID-19 deaths as of May 9, 2021.

The nation's COVID-19 vaccination campaign has been put on hold after AstraZeneca's four million doses were depleted, because it's been tough getting new supplies from major vaccine manufacturers in the developed world.

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