As Nigeria continues to battle the Coronavirus pandemic, Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai of Kaduna state has extended by two weeks, the lockdown imposed on the state.
The Governor who spoke through his deputy, Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe in a live broadcast this evening Tuesday, May 26, said after 60 days, the state government has reviewed the Quarantine Orders and the Governor has approved the recommendation to extend the partial lockdown regulations for two weeks, with adjustments to permit the reopening of certain sectors.
According to the Deputy Governor, Schools, places of worship and markets will remain closed under the adjusted orders.
“On behalf of the Kaduna State Government, I wish to commend the sacrifices made by the residents of the state since the Quarantine Orders came into effect on 26th March 2020. These orders, which were initially imposed for 30 days, were extended for another 30 days on 26th April 2020 to further protect citizens from the spread of Covid-19.
Over the last 60 days, the people of Kaduna State Government have endured many inconveniences as they complied with the Quarantine Orders. Many of you have embraced the exercise of personal responsibility, including wearing facemasks when outdoors, washing hands with soap and water regularly, observing physical distancing and avoiding large crowds. I urge you to continue with these new habits and behavior in order to keep our communities safe.
The state government acknowledges with gratitude the fact that many citizens understood that the Quarantine Orders were designed as a defensive measure to protect the vast majority of our people from the suffering and death that Covid-19 could cause. Your compliance with the orders has helped to reduce the number of infected persons and kept fatalities to a minimum.
We thank you for your support and understanding. In this quest to protect our people, the government decided, as a solemn duty, to prioritise lives. We chose to preserve the wellbeing of our citizens so that they can safely resume the pursuit of livelihoods in the shortest time possible.
We do not take for granted the support of our citizens and the gravity of the sacrifices you all have made. It is true that there are still active Covid-19 cases in our state and we acknowledge that without your sacrifices, the number of persons infected could have been higher.
Government and citizens must continue to work together to keep everyone safe. The danger from Covid-19 has not gone away. It remains a very infectious and disruptive disease. Therefore, to avoid its perils and protect lives, citizens must henceforth take the lead, as individuals with responsibility for themselves, their families and their societies. Personal responsibility is the weapon that every citizen must wield to ensure proactive protection for themselves and others from infection by Covid-19.
When the decision was taken on Saturday, 25th April 2020 to extend the initial lockdown by 30 days, the government also charged a committee of senior officials to begin planning a post-lockdown scenario for the state. That committee has since submitted its report on how to safely reopen Kaduna State, and it identified availability of realistic health data as one crucial factor for making any decision. This is an important matter given the Covid-19 infection in our state and in neighbouring states. Many of the cases recorded in Kaduna State have either been from persons with history of interstate travel or their contacts.
The Kaduna State Government is conscious of the sacrifices that citizens have made and the many challenges that remain in keeping them safe from Covid-19. This is why the state government has adjusted and extended the Quarantine Orders, by two weeks to empower citizens to more steadfastly carry forward, the fight against Covid-19.
Preservation of the relaxations in this extension requires that citizens demonstrate greater compliance with laid down health protocols, particularly the wearing of facemasks outside the house, observance of physical distancing, regular handwashing with soap and water and the avoidance of large gatherings. Violation of these protocols will compel the government to reimpose restrictions. A spike in Covid-19 infections will also necessitate a tightening of restrictions.
This week, the relaxation of movement will be effected on Wednesday and Thursday.
From Monday, 1st June 2020, the revised regulations will come into effect. They give citizens a three-day window every week to shop for food and other essentials. Until otherwise stated, the lockdown-free days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Temporary neighbourhood markets will continue to operate from 10am to 4pm on these three days, but citizens can move from 6am to 6pm on these lockdown-free days. Informal markets are not allowed and those flouting regulations by turning streets into markets are advised to stop.
The adjusted orders also expand the ability of citizens to resume the pursuit of livelihoods, in permitted sectors subject to compliance with health and safety protocols, including physical distancing. Private sector firms that meet these requirements will also operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. This window also allows vulcanisers, welders, mechanics and providers of similar services to operate on the same days.
However, the prohibition of interstate and intercity travel remains. Government officials and mobile courts will enforce this ban to prevent people from spreading the virus through non-essential movement. In addition, the nighttime curfew that has been enforced across the state still remains, from 6pm to 6am.
Restaurants will be allowed to open strictly to offer takeaway services. However, bars, sporting venues and event centres remain closed as are hotels that have not specifically licensed as essential service providers during this period.
Kaduna State has so far conducted 1900 tests and had recorded a total of 189 Covid-19 cases as at 25th May 2020. Ideally, the state would prefer to conduct so many more tests, but we are constrained by a host of factors. During the two-week extension, the state will continue to expand its public health response, including testing capacity. The MoH Team will continue to conduct more tests in identified hotspots.
The public sector will also use the two-week extension to prepare for limited resumption. Heads of Ministries, Department and Agencies will ensure that government offices are reconfigured for physical distancing and that handwashing facilities are available.
The state government will continue to support low income, poor and vulnerable households/residents with some food. In the first phase, food palliatives were distributed in nine local government areas. The second phase of distribution is going on in 14 local government areas. I wish to assure citizens that we would launch the third phase of food distribution to cover all the 23 local government areas as soon as possible.
I wish to thank our senior officials who have valiantly supervised the ban on interstate travel across our state boundaries. The government also acknowledges the efforts of the security and law enforcement agencies, especially KASTLEA and the Kaduna State Vigilance Service.” She said.