The Federal Government has directed all civil servants still observing the lockdown order since March to resume work from Monday, 19 October 2020.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Coronavirus (COVID-19), Dr Sani Aliyu, made the disclosure while reeling out the guidelines for the next phase of eased lockdown at the task force press briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
He said: “It is, therefore, the informed recommendation of the PTF that Nigeria maintains Phase 3 of the response with further changes to address economic, socio-political, and healthcare.
“In this regard, and effective from Monday, 19 October 2020, at a minute past midnight, the following guidelines will come into place.
“The lifting of restriction on outdoor sporting activities including football is in line with earlier consultations with the Federal Ministry of Youth Sports Development and NCDC. However, this is limited to the actual sport itself, not with mass gatherings.
“In this regard mass gathering including at sports events is still restricted as this represents an opportunity for the virus to spread with an increased rate of a second wave.
“For gatherings in enclosed places, this will continue to be limited to only 50 persons with physical distancing and compulsory wearing of face masks except for workplaces.
“The PTF also believes that it is now time to allow civil servants of all grades to resume work safely. Additional guidelines will be provided for heads of MDAs.
“Chief executives and heads of MDAs are responsible for ensuring the strict enforcement of non-pharmaceutical interventions and making sure that their work environment is safe for the staff. Face masks are expected to be worn in every public building including government offices.”
He further said, “We have developed guidelines with NCDC and the NYSC for the reopening of the orientation camps on 10 November 2020.
“The PTF has also arranged for additional safe bags to include the testing of all corps members and staff in the camps for COVID-19 prior to commencement of the orientation programmes.
“It is also time for schools to open but to open safely, and in this regard, we have continued with providing guidelines and engagement with states to ensure close supervision and guidelines and oversight as schools open.”
When asked why night clubs and bars should remain closed, Aliyu replied by saying, “I have nothing against night clubs, not that I drink but don’t see anything wrong with people going to bars and night clubs. However, the nature of the environment is an enclosed space, there are no windows, people are standing very close to each other. We are yet to have a mask that people can drink without taking the mask off. So you are at great risk of transmission.
“Globally, when the number starts surging look at the news, the first thing they say is that bars are closed. So that is why we are being careful, the national response that we have had in this country has been very calibrated. We have looked at every single risk and then make a decision. For every decision we make is not easy, there are negotiations, arguments, etc. But bars and night clubs remain closed for very good reasons. At a point in time that we are very confident that we are at the right time to relax further, we will open up.
“So, for those who love night clubs please be a bit patient with us hopefully, things will get back to normal,” Aliyu said.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of PTF, Boss Mustapha, also shed more light on the issue of night clubs saying that citizens should exercise more patience as we try to return to our ordinary ways of life.
He quoted the former US CDC director, who said “vaccines are an important and effective thing that we desire to have as soon as possible but the other complementary measures if not combined with vaccines, the effectiveness will not be there. And the measures are observing the COVID-19 protocols wearing of a mask, washing of hands, and using hand sanitizers.
“The likelihood of vaccine coming in the next six months is becoming questionable and hence the need to take steps to ensure the processes of the community transmission stage is limited.”