The chairman of the Presidential task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, on behalf of the Federal Government, yesterday announced additional plans for relaxing the lockdown which has been in effect since March 19th & 23rd when schools and airports were shut respectively.
While this announcement cannot be considered as a full suspension of the restrictions placed on Nigerians since the pandemic took a stronghold in Nigeria.
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The ease of the lockdown announced on Monday, 29th of June, 2020 includes;
- The opening up of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions of learning for final year students of the schools.
“The students expected to resume are in Primary6, preparing to write the Common Entrance Examination; Junior Secondary School 3 students and Senior Secondary School 3 student.”
- The resumption of inter-state travels any time of the day except in the hours within the curfew hours of 10 p.m and 5 a.m.
- Resumption of local flights as from July 1.
“Permission of movement across state borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July 2020”
This development has its own implications too. Although much of the large part of the challenge of the spread of the COVID-19 virus has been averted by shutting schools, churches, airports and restricting the movement of people, the economy will eventually have to be restarted so as to avoid fatal damages to people’s livelihoods.
Many citizens and critics of this move are equally worried that allowing all of these human concerns to open back up for business will be dangerous in the long run. Some are of the opinion that we may begin to witness the 2nd wave of infection rally of the virus.
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However, this decisive move by the PTF chairman and its National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, to announce the relaxed conditions of opening up the country, is not particularly strange. In Oyo state, for instance, a total lockdown of the state was never instituted even when many other states in Nigeria were doing so. Yet the state, though with one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 positive cases, has a high recovery rate and very low fatalities.
Oyo State had announced earlier last week that the state secretariat and schools will reopen on July 1st; with precautionary measures such as wearing masks also being instituted across the board. In most of the reopened spaces, the Federal Government has also made compulsory the wearing of face masks.
The entire Nigerian populace and leaders have finally realized the hard way that it cannot afford to nurse an indefinite lockdown. The people are finding it harder to sustain themselves economically while the government keeps dropping the ball with the provision of palliatives for the victims of the pandemic.
Similarly, many state governments will also now engage in a discretional easing of lockdown measures imposed earlier to curb the viral spread.
The nation may be on the path of a restart with all of the relaxed measures being instituted, after a deadening pause in its survival.
Tribune Online NG
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