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Second wave: PTF mulls selected lockdown charges market leaders on temperature checks, others

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Abiodun OBA     |    

 

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 is considering targeted lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; as well as Lagos and Plateau States.

PTF National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Muhammed, stated this on Friday while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme.

Muhammed described as alarming, the rising cases of Covid infections recorded in the three urban areas.

He said data showed that urban local governments in the affected places recorded the highest cases of Covid amid the second wave of the pandemic in Nigeria. According to data by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Lagos (46,935 cases), Abuja (16,470 cases), Plateau (7,801) have recorded the highest number of Covid infections and fatalities in Nigeria in the last eleven months.

When asked of the possibility of a targeted lockdown and not a total lockdown based on data of hotspot areas, Muhammed said, “That is exactly what we did, we have been analysing the data and we have been looking at the geographical areas that have been most affected and the different age groups.”

“Certainly, even if we are going to have a lockdown, it is not going to be a total lockdown. A couple of weeks back, we analysed the data and we identified the hotspot local government areas.

“Mostly, the areas affected are the urban local governments in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Plateau. Even in most other states, it is the urban areas that are involved. So, if we are going to have any restriction, it will be in these areas.

“The urban areas are the most affected and that is why we have these superspreaders and that is where we are going to target. We have analysed that and we are advising the states based on the data that these are the focused areas where these transmissions are more than the others,” he added.

The PTF official said though  the Federal Government wants economic activities to continue, such must be in a regulated fashion.

He charged market authorities to ensure temperature checks before buyers and sellers transact businesses at the various markets scattered all over the country.

He said market leaders must take responsibility and ensure traders and buyers comply with COVID-19 protocols including the use of face masks, social distancing and washing of hands at market places.

Muhammed said, “We want economic activities to continue but this has to be in a regulated fashion where there won’t be increased risk for people transacting their businesses.

“We would want to see a market where before you enter the market, there is somebody stationed there to measure your body temperature. And if your temperature is above 38 degrees, you will be turned back and advised to seek assistance or linked directly to where you will have a test done. If your temperature is negative, then, they will also ensure that you have a face mask which is actually the first step – if you don’t have a face mask, you won’t be allowed to come near the gate of the market.

“We also envision to see where the market authorities themselves become responsible and ensure that all these measures are put in place and people that are not complying are quickly refuted or taken out of the market place.

“We also want to see the law enforcement agencies working side by side with the necessary stakeholders –the association of the market regulators to ensure that these protocols are complied with. Not only the markets but all public places, the supermarkets, parks, event centres and so on and so forth.”

The disregard for Covid protocols at the market places have been concerning in the last eleven months since Nigeria recorded its index case of the virus in February 2020.

Health experts have also attributed the spread of the virus in the country to the non-compliance of the preventive measures by market users.

Many have also opined that the decentralised or ungated nature of most markets in the country has made the enforcement of temperature checks, social distancing and other Covid protocols seemingly a mirage

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