Security agencies to enforce safety protocols

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‘June 21 is for aviation authority to tell us they are ready’

The Federal Government said on Thursday it will begin enforcement of compliance with non-pharmaceutical safety protocols such as the wearing of face masks, social distancing and mass gatherings, across the country by working with security and enforcement agencies.

It said this is part of additional interventions to improve compliance with non-pharmaceutical measures.

Also, the government has begun the process of preparation for the resumption of international flight. In addition, it is working with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on the safe resumption of its activities.

National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, made this known during its briefing in Abuja.

He said: “We are currently in phase two of the eased lockdown which started on the 1st of June 2020. Since then, we have made certain minor adjustments to accommodate for the gradual reopening of the economy as well as to address key challenges in the response.

“We have made an assessment of the current phase and we have made recommendations to Mr. President to retain the current phase of the response, with minor changes to address some of the challenges we see on the economic, social, political and health fronts.

“The assessments that we did have revealed that there is a lot of non-compliance with our non-pharmaceutical interventions – a lot of disbelief, skepticism and negativity with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is very clear that we need to have additional interventions to improve compliance with our non-pharmaceutical measures and our protocols. We also need to strengthen the engagement of communities and local authorities in prevention campaigns as well as expand on the current roll out of precision-based control measures in local governments in the country.

“Further to this, and effective from early morning hours of today, the measures put in place for the current phase two of the eased lockdown shall be maintained while addressing some specific aspects. This includes – maintaining the current nationwide curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., maintaining the restrictions on mass gatherings with specific emphasis on protecting vulnerable populations.

“We will continue to push for the security services and enforcement agencies to make sure that they do their job of protecting public health.

“We are particularly concerned about the low level of compliance with wearing face masks and with the current extension of this phase, we will be working with state authorities to start enforcing these by looking at alternative legal ways of changing behaviour.”

Concerning plans to resume international flights, Aliyu said, “Specific to air transportation, as you are aware domestic operation has already resumed. The railway sector has also restarted.

“For international travels, we have made recommendations to the aviation industry to commence the process for opening international airports, provided all existing international and local prevention guidelines on COVID-19 are in place.

Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika also stated that international flights would resume soon.

This followed pressure from passengers for the resumption.

Though no specific date was given, the minister stated that international flights would resume in a matter of weeks.

He spoke in Abuja on Thursday during the briefing by members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

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