The Federal Government has approved the extension of the six months mandate of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, due to expire on Friday, September 4, to the end of December.
The Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this on Thursday, during an address at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Mustapha also said the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been moved into the third phase of the eased lockdown, after three extensions of the second phase.
The SGF said the third phase of the eased lockdown would be sustained until when the epidemic is sufficiently controlled.
He noted that Nigeria’s economy was not ready for full reopening, adding that the objective of the extension was to sustain a robust multi-sectoral national response and to successfully manage the community spread stage of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Mustapha noted that the PTF would keep engaging states and local governments to improve community sensitisation and to maintain the current non-pharmaceutical interventions nationwide
“Mr. President has considered and approved the following: transition into the third phase of the National Response to COVID-19 for a period of four weeks with effect from 12.01 am on Friday, September 4, 2020, in line with amendments to address economic, socio-political and health considerations reflected in the implementation guidelines.
“The task force would work with the state governments and local government authorities in each state to intensify the necessary measures such as contact tracing, grassroots engagement and risk communication as well as strengthening the collaboration between the federal and state organs to harmonise the country’s COVID-19 response, in the short, medium and long-term basis.
“It would ensure the introduction of sanctions, including the suspension of passports or denial of foreign travels for violation of current provisional travel-related quarantine protocols.
“Mr. President has similarly considered the fact that the six-month mandate of the PTF will expire this month and has therefore extended it till the end of December 2020.
“Based on the foregoing, the PTF today submitted its 7th Interim Report to Mr. President for his consideration and approval.
“The main thrust of the recommendation is that Nigeria advances to the third phase of eased restrictions with further amendments, to address economic, socio-political and health concerns. This will last till a time when the epidemic is sufficiently controlled in Nigeria,” Mustapha stated.
Speaking also at the briefing, National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said no formal restriction would be placed on Nigerians, adding that the interstate ban on road and railway travel has also been removed.