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FG Contemplates fresh lockdown over non-compliance with COVID-19 guidelines

The Presidency has threatened to impose a fresh lockdown should Nigerians continue to flout the guidelines released to curtail further spread of the COVID-19.

The senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, stated this in a statement entitled ‘Nigerians should comply with mandatory mask wearing to avert another lockdown,’ issued in Abuja on Sunday evening.

He said the presidency was worried by reports of non-compliance with the regulations that make mask-wearing and observation of social distancing in the public mandatory.

He urged Nigerians to always have it in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic is not only a threat to the health of the population but it is also so to the national economy, and to every aspect of our everyday life.

The presidential aide said Nigerians have a duty to protect themselves and others in this difficult global health crisis, adding that “no one has immunity against this pandemic. Ignoring health warnings and refusing to comply with safety measures does more harm than good.

The statement reads: “The Buhari administration is most reluctant to lock down the country and continues to emphasise the non-pharmaceutical measures, and the only way to avert lockdowns is to observe these measures as put in place by the Presidential Task Force.

“Nigerians have come a long way from the dreaded lockdown and the administration is unhappy about any prospects of bringing it back as many citizens will not have food on the table without venturing out on a day-to-day business.

“Nigerians are required to wear masks, wash hands regularly with soap and clean water, and keep a safe distance with anybody not in your household, hoping that this will help check the spread of COVID-19.

“Though vaccine availability is within reach, the propensity of the public for noncompliance weakens the fight against the virus.

“Nigerians must ignore baseless conspiracy theories that seek to deny the reality of the pandemic by complying with the order to wear masks.”

The Presidency also urged state governments, traditional rulers and religious leaders to play active roles in the sensitization and enforcement of the executive order.

“To achieve this, COVID-19 task forces and committees should persuade members of the public to cooperate with the government in achieving compliance and avoid crude methods that may create resistance and resentment, thereby defeating the primary goal of the executive order.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a major threat to public health and wearing of masks, social distancing in public places and the basic hygiene are necessary measures that have to be taken to safeguard the well-being of our citizens.

“Protecting public health is one of the sacred duties of any responsible government and the administration will not abdicate that responsibility,” he added.

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