Relaxation of lockdown not end of COVID-19, says govt



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Relaxation of lockdown not end of COVID-19, says govt

From Bolaji Ogundele and Frank Ikpefan Abuja



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The Federal Government warned on Tuesday that the relaxation of lockdown is not evidence that coronavirus pandemic has dissipated.



It urged Nigerians to brace for a difficult phase in the battle against the virus which has killed more than 40 citizens and infected almost 1,500 people.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, spoke at the daily briefing on the state of the pandemic, 24 hours after the presidential broadcast which announced that from next week, the lockdown will be eased during the day time in Lagos, Ogun states and Abuja, but with nationwide night curfew and a lot of restrictions.

Mustapha, who is also Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said: “The relaxation of the lockdown is to enable us gradually return to our daily lives but in a moderated manner. The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered our ways of life and we must begin to learn how to adjust to this new reality.

“This relaxation does not in any way imply that the danger has passed. The virus is still potent, virulent and dangerous. We must remain very vigilant and careful. We must take responsibility for our actions. We must commit to a collective victory over COVID-19”.

He insisted that the lockdown for FCT, Lagos and Ogun States shall remain in force till midnight of Sunday 3rd May, 2020 after which the new regime of measures shall take effect. Law enforcement agencies shall therefore continue to enforce the restriction of movements.

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“The relaxation of the lockdown is to enable us gradually return to our daily lives but in a moderated manner. The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered our ways of life and we must begin to learn how to adjust to this new reality.

“This relaxation does not in any way imply that the danger has passed. The virus is still potent, virulent and dangerous. We must remain very vigilant and careful. We must take responsibility for our actions. We must commit to a collective victory over COVID-19.”

According to Mustapha, the success of Nigeria’s national response effort against COVID-19 would now depend largely on the personal and collective responses of Nigerians, whom he said need to start taking responsibility for their actions from now on, especially as it concerned the COVID-19 fight.

He said: “It is very important that we acknowledge the fact that the next phase we are going into is a very serious one, it’s the phase of personal responsibility and each and everyone of us will have to take this personal responsibility.

“If you read that literature of previous pandemics in the world, you will be minded and guided that this is not a time for part, this is the time for each and everyone of us to take personal responsibility and the only way we can take personal responsibility is to take heed of the advisories.

“The medical advisory of keeping social distance, of personal hygiene, of wearing masks, of avoiding unnecessary travels and unnecessary visitations because what will happen to each and everyone of us, going forward, will depend on what we do.

“My passionate appeal and I expect you to convey that to the people of Nigeria, that the government is trying to do the best it can to provide safety and resources and facilities for us to combat COVID-19. That the response of the citizens, on an individual and collective basis, will determine whether we will succeed or not. That is the crux of the matter; that the next stage is that of personal responsibility for each and everyone of us”.

Relaxation of lockdown not end of COVID-19, says govt

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