As part of the efforts to check the rising cases of coronavirus, the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, on Wednesday, ordered the closure of all bars, restaurants, leisure gardens, and event centres for five weeks.
Bello also directed that informal and formal festivity events, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, and end of year events are restricted to not more than 50 persons.
Rising from an emergency COVID-19 meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, the minister equally directed that Churches and Mosques should not have more than 50 per cent worshippers, noting that social distancing and mandatory use of face masks and hand hygiene was to be strictly enforced.
“Enforcement teams have been mandated to carry out the arrest of violators and prosecute them through the mobile courts’ system,” Bello stated.
Chief Press Secretary to the minister, Anthony Ogunleye, stated these in a statement titled, ‘FCTA issues new guidelines on controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the territory.’
According to the statement, “All bars, night clubs, pubs, events and recreational venues in the FCT are to remain closed for the next five weeks; all restaurants, except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins are to remain closed; informal and formal festivity events including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end of year events etc, in the FCT are restricted to not more than 50 persons.
“Facilities for religious events are restricted to less than 50 per cent of the capacity of use during which physical distancing, mandatory use of face masks and hand hygiene is to be strictly enforced.
“Events of more than 50 persons are to be held outdoors only and virtual meetings are strongly encouraged; public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50 per cent of their capacity in compliance with social distancing rules.”
Bello also said employees of the FCT Administration and the six Area Councils on Grade Level 12 and below are to work from home for the next five weeks, adding that heads of the various Secretariats, Departments and Agencies are responsible for compliance.
He also directed all schools in the FCT to remain on vacation until January 18, 2021.
The minister admonished residents above 60 years with hypertension and diabetes to stay indoors and avoid non-essential travels within and outside the FCT.
The government asked the Abuja Market Management Ltd. and the various market associations to work together to ensure compliance with all the guidelines on facial coverings, hand hygiene and physical distancing.
“The FCT Administration will not hesitate to close down any market or business premises found in contravention of these guidelines,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, the minister has undertaken a tour of the Idu COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Centre, accompanied by senior staff of the Health and Human Services and Social Development Secretariats.
He said the tour was meant to reconfirm the functionality of all the centres in the light of the second wave of the pandemic.
Bello expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the Health and Human Services Secretariat in the management of the centre, adding that the facilities were being upgraded to accommodate patients who might require further treatment such as the use of oxygen.
Also speaking, the acting Secretary of the Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr Muhammed Kawu, said that the centre was fully functional with a 20-bed ward for patients that might require intensive interventions.
He revealed that the second wave of COVID -19 appeared to be more severe as more patients now required intensive care just as some have succumbed to the disease.