The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has approved the extension of the gradual ease of lockdown by another two weeks.
The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr.Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the PTF press briefing on Monday, said security agencies had been directed to ensure strict enforcement of the use of face masks and the ban on interstate movements.
At the press conference, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, said Borno, Lagos and Kano states accounted for 52 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the country.
Buhari had, in his broadcast on April 27, ordered gradual reopening of the economy. He also imposed an 8pm to 6pm curfew on the nation and directed those interstate human and vehicular movements should stop.
The PTF, in the guidelines it issued a few days after the presidential address, called for the use of face masks in public places in addition to maintaining social distancing.
But despite the guidelines, there have been interstate movements, particularly by Quranic school pupils in the North, Almajirai, who are being hidden and conveyed to the South in food trucks.
The Almajirai have been turned back in southern states such as Cross River, Osun and Lagos.
As of April 27, when the President addressed the nation, the country had 1,337 cases of coronavirus. But on Sunday, the figure shot up to 5,959.
Mustapha, on Monday said the PTF reviewed the first phase of the eased lockdown and lamented Nigerians’ non-compliance with the ban on interstate movements and other guidelines issued by the task force.
He, however, said measures put in place had slowed down the transmission of the virus by elongating the doubling time which had changed from seven to 11 days.
Mustapha recalled that the President had addressed the nation three times to underscore the seriousness of COVID-19.
He stated, “On each of those occasions, he pronounced measures aimed at containing and controlling the spread of the disease.
“Some of these measures introduced in phases and modified as we progressed, include lockdown of specified high burden areas, travel ban, nationwide curfew, as well as advisories aimed at preventing and controlling the virus.”
The SGF regretted that the outcome of phase one of the eased lockdown had “been mixed.”
He stated, “While some objectives were met, our assessment showed that non-compliance was rampant, but the PTF nevertheless continued to persuade the populace through its messaging and daily briefing on the need to take responsibility.”