Nigeria is to relax the ban on religious gatherings and shrink curfew imposed to control the spread of coronavirus by at least four hours.
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 at its daily briefing said the relaxation is based on guidelines and protocols agreed by states.
Accordingly, the curfew which has up until now lasted from 8pm to 6am, will now last from 10pm to 4am.
The ban on inter-state travel remains in place.
The decision signals a yield to demands by religious leaders to lift restrictions on worship centres.
“Ban on inter-state travels except for movement of agricultural produce, petroleum products, manufactured goods and essential services; managed access to markets and locations of economic activity to limit the risk of transmission; mandatory use of non-medical face masks in public places,” announced the taskforce chairman Boss Mustapha.
“Mandatory provision of handwashing facilities/sanitisers in all public places; extensive temperature checks in public places; maintaining two metres between people in public places; strengthening infection prevention and control at healthcare facilities; isolation of vulnerable populations (elderly and those with underlying health conditions),” Mustapha said.
According to the latest figures announced Sunday midnight by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Nigeria had recorded 10,162 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 3,007 discharges and 287 deaths; recorded 553 new cases on Saturday, 30th May, 2020 representing the highest single day numbers ever.
“In Africa, confirmed cases stood at 146,568 while 64,080 cases had recovered and 4,222 fatalities were recorded as at Sunday, 31st may, 2020. Reports have shown that there are lesser number of confirmed cases than expected across the African Continent,” said Mustapha.
“Countries have continued to record significant daily increases, capable of overwhelming our fragile healthcare systems if there is a consistent surge. This calls for caution, planning, multi-sectoral investment in institutional and human capacity, scientific and methodical approach as well as citizens commitment to the control of the pandemic,” he added.
Mustapha said that while Nigeria’s confirmed cases have increased in the period under review, there are some factors that should inspire confidence in the response.
He said, “Majority of the confirmed cases are in a handful of local governments in the country; 20 out of the 774 LGAs nationwide account for 60 percent of the cases; there is an opportunity to concentrate efforts in these high-burden areas; federal agencies and state governments are working together on the promotion and utilisation of guidelines on case management.”
The guidelines include home care for relatively well patients.