Mr. Mustapha, Chairman of Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 Photo: OfficialOSGFNG/Twitter

Government workers to continue work-from-home till June 11 as Nigeria reintroduces COVID-19 restrictions

*All Federal Government staff on Grade Level (GL) 12 and below are to continue to stay at home until 11th June, 2021

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

In continuation of measures aimed at containing the spread of deadly strains of COVID-19 in Nigeria, the Federal Government, again, has extended its Work-From-Home (WFH) directive for Civil Servants on Grade Level 12 and below.

ConsumerConnect reports the country’s Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 domiciled in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF) Monday, May 10, 2021, said the affected government personnel would continue to work from home till June 11, after which the directive may be reviewed.

It was learnt the PSC, headed by Mr. Boss Mustapha, who is also SGF, took the decision in connection with growing concerns about deadly COVID-19 strains in India, South Africa, Turkey and Brazil, among others.

Recall the Nigerian Government also had reintroduced some measures which were put in place during the second wave of the COVID-19 in the country, including restricted gatherings at worship centres and banned night clubs at the time.

Dr. Nicksy Gumede-Moeletsi, World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Virologist, had said B.1.351 variant of the Coronavirus, first found in South Africa, was spreading in 23 African countries, according to report.

As of Sunday, May 9, the Africa continent had recorded 4,673,466 cases as South Africa with 1.59 million cases has the highest number of infections in the continent.

In the same vein, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria has so far recorded 165,419 cases of the virus out of which 2,065 have died while 156,300 have been discharged.

India, whose cases have attracted global attention following shortage of oxygen and hospital spaces, has recorded 22,991,927 infections.

Government introduces nationwide curfew

Still part of the measures to prevent the spread of the reportedly new wild variant of COVID-19 in the country, Mukhtar Mohammed, National Incident Manager and member of PSC, at a media briefing Monday in Abuja, FCT, disclosed that a nationwide curfew would commence midnight on same day until further notice.

Mohammed stated the curfew would run from 12 midnight till 4a.m. daily.

The National Incident Manager also said the gatherings for worship or wedding ceremonies should not be more than 50 percent capacity.

He stated that only essential international travels would be encouraged, and all existing protocols must be strictly adhered to.

According to him, “all Government staff on GL. 12 and below are to continue to stay at home until 11th June, 2021;

“Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executives to be held accountable for enforcing NPI rules in their domains with frequent spot checks; and

“Ensure that all NPIs are observed. Mandatory and proper use of face masks in all government premises.”

Mohammed noted non-government workers should “encourage virtual meetings by offices. Avoid large meetings, decongest offices and ensure they are well-ventilated;

“Encourage staff to work from home where possible;

“Mobile courts to enforce on-the-spot fines and close premises that repeatedly violate rules.”

He added: “Mandatory use of face masks and other NPIs. no face mask, no entry;

“Personalised services to ensure face masks are worn when selling goods or providing services and ensure provision of sanitisers and appropriate PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) to all workers; and.”

Mohammed added: “Encourage the use of approved Ag-Rapid Diagnostic Tests as recommended in the guidance for the use of approved COVID-19 AG-RDTS in Nigeria (on NCDC website).”

Security agents have been saddled with the responsibility of enforcing all the non-pharmaceutical measures put in place by the government, said he.

Nigeria to impose sanctions on mandatory quarantine violators, says Boss Mustapha

Earlier, Mr. Mustapha, Chairman of PSC and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, in his address at the media briefing Monday said the returning foreign passengers who fled the quarantine facilities and violated the compulsory requirement would not go unpunished.

The PSC Chairman said the Committee had received reports that some persons who recently returned to the country violated the mandatory quarantine requirement under the advisory by escaping from the facilities.

While condemning the violation of the country’s laws and hospitality, Mustapha noted that the committee was awaiting the report of ongoing investigations and would impose appropriate sanctions on the violators.

He revealed that the PSC has considered several pre-emptive measures to be taken to mitigate the likely impact of the variants of COVID-19, should they get imported into Nigeria.

He explained that the step became important in view of the fragile state of the nation’s health systems, the disruption to the delivery of vaccines, and the lack of compliance with the extant public health measures and social measures contained in the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021.

The Chairman stated it is imperative to reinstitute the various public health measures that were put in place under the health protection regulations.

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