COVID-19: Chaotic scenes in banks, markets, other places dangerous – PTF

The Presidential Taskforce on Control of COVID-19 pandemic said Monday that the chaotic scenes in markets, banks and other financial institutions in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun states following the commencement of the phased easing of lockdown were dangerous.
Addressing journalists at the daily briefing in Abuja, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Task Force, Mr Boss Mustapha, said it’s imperative for Nigerians to appreciate the fact the danger of infection is not over yet.

He said state governments and security agencies have been directed to enforce the measures contained in the guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force.
“The PTF has been monitoring the level of compliance with some of the measures and early observations showed lack of compliance with social distancing and wearing of masks. We note particularly the chaotic scenes around the banks and other financial institutions. We must reiterate that the danger of infection is not over and that individual actions will contribute to the success or failure of our measures.

“We urge citizens to minimize the risk of getting infected while trying to transact in the banks. We similarly urge the banks to ensure that their ATMs and online banking systems are in good order and stocked regularly to avoid convergence of customers in their premises.
“The PTF fully understands the desire of Nigerians to come out to continue their lives after five weeks of lockdown. State Governments and Security agencies have however, been advised to enforce the measures rigidly and violators will be prosecuted.

“Let me remind you, once more, that this easing up is in phases and those who are permitted to open have clearly been defined. Our admonition to Nigerians is that it is still desirable to stay at home if there is no compelling reason to go out and to comply with the measures always, whether at home or not,” he said.

He said the Presidential Task Force had received reports on the level of compliance with the nationwide ban on inter-state movement to contain spread of the Coronavirus in the country.

“The objective of the ban is to slow down the spread of virus across state boundaries. The determination of government to enforce this policy is not in doubt and as we progress, we believe that proper alignment with the directives of Mr. President would be pursued,” he said.
The SGF also expressed concern over deportation of almajiri across the 19 northern states, saying the Presidential Task Force would engage governors to halt it.

“There has been very noticeable relocation of Almajiris from one state to another, up until yesterday. With the ban on interstate movement, the continuation of this exercise will not be in alignment with the guidelines issued. The PTF shall engage with the respective State Governments on how to achieve their objectives,” he said.
Also speaking, Director-General of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Mr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said more cases would be recorded with the easing of the lockdown order.

He said lessons learnt from the first day would help the Presidential Task Force on the steps to take to control spread of the virus in the country.
He said: “Measures to ease the lockdown have kicked off today, but initial reports across the country are not too pleasing. We will have infections based on what happened today, no doubt. But what can we learn from it? How do we organise ourselves as a society?”
Also speaking, national coordinator of the Presidential Task Force Dr Sani Aliyu said Nigerians must behave well to avoid mass spread of the virus across the country.

“Easing of lockdown is in no way a license or permission to return to business as usual. It is absolutely necessary to continue to maintain all the measures that will protect us.
“We must all wear our masks, keep washing our hands, maintain physical distancing of two million, and all the other directives issued for this period of gradual and phased easing of the lockdown,” he said.

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