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Lockdown ease: FG ministries, depts, agencies to open May 4

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• schools, churches, others remain closedWith effect from May 4, all Federal Government offices shut during the month-long lockdown are to resume business nationwide, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has directed.

Dr. Sani Aliyu, the National Coordinator of PTF, said at Wednesday media briefing by the Task Force that the  resumption will be based on specific grade levels.

According to him, others that will resume on Monday are those in the banking, construction, manufacturing sectors, as well as food processing companies.
Aliyu said that temperature test, respiratory hygiene and restriction of gathering of not more than 20 persons will be introduced.
According to the coordinator,  the PTF will engage with state governments to ensure that the PTF have a common approach to the opening of offices.
Aliyu said: “For government offices, government staff will be allowed to resume from the 4 of May but it will be based on specific grade levels and specific days so that we can reduce the amount of congestion that we might have in our government offices.
“We will be discussing further with state governments to make sure that we have a common approach to this.
“Banks will be allowed to open but there will be restriction in the opening hours to between 8am to 2pm and together with all the other preventive measures I have already mentioned.
“In addition to this, from the point of agriculture and rural development, companies involved in food processing can commence operation.
“In construction sites, critical road will be allowed but waivers will be provided by state governments to enable movement.
“For the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries, we will encourage shift work and limiting staff to only 30 to 50 per cent to maintain social distancing and pharmacy shops may remain open overnight.”
Sani, however, said social gatherings remain suspended pending review of the new measures put in place by the government.
In addition, he said restaurants and schools remain closed but that neighbourhood markets are allowed to operate during the relaxed lockdown.
“Restaurant will not be opened to the publics but will be allowed to engage in home delivery of food.
“Schools will remain closed till further evaluation. Schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching.
“Social activities such as the use of recreational parks, communal sports, concert, social parties and movie theaters will be suspended until further review.
“Neighborhood markets will continue to open with the same standard and restrictions that we have applied in the past as well as supermarkets, and retail stores,” he said.
Sani urged those above 65 years and with mobility challenge to avoid mingling with the general public so that they protect themselves from catching Covid-19.
“There will be general pieces of advice, for instance, discouraging persons above the age of 65 and those with mobility challenge from co-mingling with the general public so that they protect themselves from catching Covid -19 because they are the ones that are most likely to develop severe illness.
“We will be providing additional details and hopefully the implementation guidelines and the protocols will follow over the next day or two to allow businesses and offices to prepare for these changes,” he said.

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