President Muhammadu Buhari has given approval for federal civil servant below grade level 12 who have been stopped from work since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to return to work from Monday.
This is part of the latest relaxation of restrictions in the third phase of the national response to further open up the country announced by the Presidential Task Force on the COVID-19 Pandemic on Thursday.
The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this during its briefing in Abuja, however, advised chief executives of the various agencies to ensure a system where the workers will alternate their presence at their workplaces.
He also announced the commencement of outdoor sporting activities such as football.
But he affirmed that despite the latest relaxation of restrictions, the country is not yet ready for full reopening.
Mustapha said: “After a very careful review of the national response, the PTF believes that while recent numbers point to a likely flattening of the curve consistent with emerging epidemic control, Nigeria is not yet ready for a full reopening of the economy.
The major changes proposed by the PTF are as follows:
“Gradual and safe re-opening of schools and NYSC camps; Re-commencement of sporting leagues, in particular, all outdoor activities such as football;
“Sustaining the midnight-4am curfew on movement nationwide; and removal of the limitation on civil servants allowed to come to work.”
He said other measures approved by the president are: Maintaining the third Phase of the National Response to COVID-19 for a period of four weeks with effect from 00.01 am on Monday, 19th October 2020 in line with amendments to address economic, socio-political and health considerations reflected in the table above; Sustain engagement with States and Local Governments to improve community sensitisation and sample collection;
“Continue to monitor the impact of school re-opening and the commencement of international travel and enforcing compliance with the protocols set out for the safe resumption of these activities; and maintaining the already established non-pharmaceutical interventions nationwide in order to flatten the curve.”
The PTF boss expressed concern over the low level of sample collection by states; increasing apathy, scepticism and disbelief; very low compliance with non-pharmaceutical guidelines by Nigerians; and low-risk perception leading to low sample collection rate and decreasing testing.