The Federal Government on Monday lifted the ban on interstate travels, but restricted the timing of the the travels.
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, at the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja, said that Nigerians can now travel across state boundaries from July 1, provided such journeys are made outside the curfew hours of 10pm to 4am.
Mr. Mustapha is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Part of the major shifts in the phased easing of COVID-19 lockdown include approval for safe resumption of domestic flights in the country, reopening of schools nationwide, and resumption of domestic flights.
The PTF chairman urged Nigerians to change their disposition towards the dreadful pandemic, saying that the task force observed that Nigerians had misunderstood government’s intention in relaxing restrictions.
He said, “Within the Month under review, the PTF continued to monitor developments and consistently admonished Nigerians to change their behavior in view of the fact that the spread of the virus had entered the community phase. It is the considered opinion of the PTF that Nigerians, though aware of the existence of the virus, have generally misunderstood the objectives behind the reasoning of government in gradually relaxing the restrictions.
“For the purpose of emphasis, the virus is still dangerous and has continued to wreak havoc at home and abroad. The exponential rise in the number of cases detected and the fatalities give cause for concern.”
Mustapha expressed displeasure that despite the efforts of the task force in communicating the risks of the dreadful virus, there had been substantial non-compliance with safe-distancing, wearing of masks and other protective measures put in place by the government.
According to him, “As we are all aware, the PTF in conjunction with sub-national entities, the organized private sector, put in place a number of measures. The PTF also escalated its activities around risk communication to Nigerians but we have observed with growing concern, the non-compliances with these measures designed to prevent transmission and protect vulnerable segments of the population.
“We hold the strong view that if such actions do not abate, experiences of the resurgence of the virus from other jurisdictions including China, the United States of America, Brazil, and across Europe may emerge in Nigeria and we run the risk of erasing the gains made in the last three months.”
He said that the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect in the present phase in the country:
i. Maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated by the National Coordinator;
ii. Permission of movement across State borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July, 2020;
iii. Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular, the use of face masks in public places;
iv. Safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations;
v. Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable;
vi. Publication of revised guidelines around the three thematic areas of general movement, industry and labour; and community activities;
vii. Provision of technical support for states to mobilise additional resources for the response; among others.