In line with the increasing risk of a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 on Monday, April 10, 2021 re-instituted the enforcement of the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations.
This it said, is to mitigate the risk of a spike in new cases, while the nationwide vaccine rollout continues, adding that the national response continues to focus on achieving a balance between preserving lives and livelihoods while working towards long term epidemic control.
Further to this recommendation, the PSC issued implementation guidelines for phased restriction of movement where it noted that effective from 00:01 hours of Tuesday, 11th May, 2021, this Phase Four of the phased restriction of movements shall come into effect:
- Restrictions on mass gatherings outside workplace settings, with a maximum number of 50 people in enclosed spaces (weddings, funerals etc.). Approved gatherings must be held with physical distancing measures and other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in place and enforced;
- Enforcement of mandatory requirements for a 7-day quarantine for all international passengers arriving from all countries, while institutional quarantine for international passengers arriving from specific high burden countries;
- Enforce temperature checks and “No-Mask, No-Entry” policy in all public settings, workplace buildings, businesses, places of worship, recreational facilities, markets and motor parks. Access to government and commercial premises should be denied for persons not wearing facemasks;
- Maintain restriction on resumption to work of government staff from GL.12 and below;
- Limit government meetings to virtual platforms as much as possible while maintaining restrictions on physical meetings including official trips, oversight visits and board meetings until further notice;
- Event centres, bars and nightclubs shall remain closed until further notice; and
- Restaurants are to provide eat-in at 50% capacity and provide takeaways, drive throughs and home delivery.
These measures the PSC said, are “to enable the Government of Nigeria effectively prevent and/or control the resurgence of an acute phase of this pandemic, continue to strengthen our public health systems, and to protect the lives of Nigerians and our economy”.
In Section II. ‘Protocols for Restrictions’, the PSC made these recommendations in line with the three established thematic areas:
- Industry and Labour; and
- Community Activities.
These safety protocols it stated, provide a baseline from which State Governments may further build on, to strengthen their responses based on their local circumstances.
“States should continue to consider them as the minimum guidelines required to ensure an acceptable level of epidemic control nationwide. The table below expands on each of the thematic areas mentioned in this paragraph (underlines passages reflect new changes to protocol)”, it added.