By GRACE AUDU, Abuja –
With total confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) hitting 65 as at Thursday evening, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has announced new measures to contain the spread of disease in the Territory.
The measures were made public in a news briefing by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello in Abuja.
Malam Bello unveiled the new measures just as 14 new cases of #COVID19, made up of 2 in FCT and 12 in Lagos, were being confirmed.
According to reports, six out of the 14 were detected on a vessel, while 3 were returning travellers into Nigeria and one other, a close contact of a confirmed case.
This brings the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Nigeria to 65 as at 7:35 pm on Thursday.
The updates released by relevant government agencies, also indicate that so far, three patients have been discharged with only one death recorded.
According to the FCT Minister, the measures were reached during a meeting held earlier in the day with officials of the FCTA and relevant security agencies who are in the forefront in the battle against COVID- 19 to review the measures earlier announced by the FCTA such as restriction on movement, closure of recreation centers amongst others.
Chief Press Secretary to the Minister, Anthony Ogunleye, in a statement, quoted Malam Bello as saying that the new measures, which were also based on medical advice, would further strengthen those in the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.
As part of the new measures to be deployed, the Minister disclosed the constitution of 5 enforcement teams to ensure compliance of already laid down COVID 19 containment strategies.
A team will monitor and ensure compliance of containment measures in event centers, night clubs, restaurant and markets. Another team will monitor compliance in motor parks, bus terminals and taxis while the third will monitor and ensure compliance in places of worship. A fourth team will ensure compliance in educational institutions while the fifth will ensure compliance at the Area Councils.
According to the Minister, these teams would also be constituted by the respective Area Council Chairmen in their domains. The whole idea according to Malam Bello is to “encourage people to comply with the regulations and where necessary, to enforce, and we have the full support of all the relevant security agencies”
With respect to restaurants and eateries, the Minister said “restaurants have been directed to provide their services but only in the manner of allowing customers to take what they call takeaway. Sitting within enclosed restaurant facilities are discouraged, unless of course within established hotels where the principle of social distancing will be adopted.”
The Minister also announced that businesses can only operate between the hours of 6 am and 9pm on the advice of security agencies and health authorities effective from Friday, 27th of March.
This new measure according to the Minister “is to, as much as possible, restrict unnecessary movement and congregation of people, particularly at night, which is dangerous to all of us”.
Another new measure is the establishment of the FCT COVID 19 Situation Room which will ensure effective coordination of all activities of the containment of the COVID 19 in the FCT. The situation room will be domiciled in the FCT Call Centre.
Malam Bello also released the following phone numbers to the Call Center; 08099936312, 08099936313, 08099936314, 07080631500 and 112 which is the National Emergency number.
He encouraged FCT residents to make use of these numbers and help in the monitoring and prompt divulging of useful information that might aid the authorities in the fight against the Coronavirus.
The Minister also reiterated measures earlier announced on the operations of market places. He said “I want to also reiterate that all sections of markets where foodstuffs and other essential items are being sold would be open. But we are advising and we intend to enforce that customers and traders in markets, even while transacting essential transactions with foodstuff, should enforce and consider social distancing”
As his parting words the Minister said “It is very important that for us to jointly fight the COVID 19 pandemic, we all have to work together, we have to be self-disciplined and enforce social distancing and restrict movement outside our residences, except under very essential circumstances.