BREAKING: President Buhari announces gradual easing of lockdown

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The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari announced the gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States effective from Saturday, as part of efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The president who disclosed this in his broadcast to the nation on Monday, however, banned social gatherings.

The speech reads in full:

“Based on the above and in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID nineteen, the various Federal Government committees that have reviewed socio-economic matters and the Nigeria Governors Forum, I have approved for a phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States effective from Saturday, 4th May, 2020 at 9am.

“However, this will be followed strictly with aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measures while allowing the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors.

“The highlights of the new nationwide measures are as follows;
a. Selected businesses and offices can open from 9 am to 6 pm;
b. There will be an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am. This means all movements are will be prohibited during this period except essential services;
c. There will be a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travels until further notice;
d. There will be partial and controlled interstate movement of goods and services will be allowed to allow for the movement of goods and services from producers to consumers

“We will strictly ensure the mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene. Furthermore, the restrictions on social and religious gatherings shall remain in place. State Governments, corporate organisations, and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens.

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“For the avoidance of doubt, the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos & Ogun States shall subsist remain in place until these new ones come into effect on Monday, 4th of May 2020 at 9 am.

“The Presidential Task Force shall provide sector-specific details and timing guidelines to allow for preparations by Governments, businesses, and institutions.

“The above are guidelines. State Governors may choose to amend adapt and expand based on their unique circumstances provided they maintain alignment with the guidelines issued above on public health and hygiene.

“These revised guidelines will not apply to Kano State. The total lockdown recently announced by the State Government shall remain enforced be enforced for the full duration. The Federal Government shall deploy all the necessary human, material, and technical resources to support the State in controlling and containing the pandemic.”

President Buhari had ordered the restriction of movements in the affected states which are the hardest hit by the coronavirus in the country, for four weeks. The four weeks elapses today, Monday, April 27, 2020.

Nigeria’s tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 1273 on Sunday from 1182 reported on Saturday evening by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

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