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Nigeria outlines plan for gradual reopening of economy

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Nigerian government outlined on Thursday the plan for a gradual reopening of the economy of Africa’s most populous nation, following an order from the president to gradually ease lockdown measures in some states of the country.

The gradual reopening of the economy would span six weeks, broken into three tranches of two weeks each, said Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, at a news conference in Abuja.

This is coming after the federal government’s four-week lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and two states of Lagos and Ogun aimed at containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Mustapha, chairman of the presidential task force for the COVID-19 outbreak, said the phased strategy was designed to reduce the pains of socio-economic disruptions while strengthening public health response.

According to him, the overnight curfew is applicable nationwide from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily, effective on Monday.

Inter-state travels are banned except for the movement of goods, agro-products, petroleum products, essential services, such as directed by the president.

The management of various offices, premises, and businesses that will be gradually re-opened is mandated to ensure that fumigation and decontamination arrangement are ade for physical distancing.

He stressed the provision of hand sanitizers and hand washing facilities, application of the policy on mandatory use of face masks, provision of thermometers for temperature checks.

The official told reporters that mass gathering of more than 20 people outside a workplace is strictly prohibited.

“Controlled access to neighborhood markets and locations of economic activities will be enforced while mandatory temperature checks will be conducted in public places,” he said.

Mustapha said social distancing of two meters should be maintained among people in workplaces and other public places.

He said to underscore the collaborative efforts with sub-national levels of government, the task force is encouraged to provide leadership in engaging relevant associations responsible for various sectors.

The official told reporters that the state governments in collaboration with security agencies and relevant trade associations had been advised to ensure that the aforementioned measures were strictly enforced.

The country has reported a total of 1,728 confirmed cases as of Wednesday. Enditem

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