Kaduna govt announces measures to stem Covid-19 without lockdown

By Muyiwa Adekeye

The Kaduna State Government has announced measures to help stem Covid-19 infections through voluntary mass compliance, and thereby avert a lockdown.

The Covid-19 prevention measures were announced yesterday at live media chat hosted by Governor Nasir El-Rufai and Deputy Governor Dr. Hadiza Balarabe. The event also feature Commissioner of Health Dr. Amina Mohammed-Baloni, Commissioner of Education Dr. Shehu Usman Muhammad and the Commissioner for Business, Innovation and Technology Idris Nyam. 

During the media chat, the state government confirmed that the Covid-19 infection rates were averaging 30% of samples tested, and yielding about 100 new cases daily. If not stemmed, such infection rates will easily overrun all the isolation facilities and hospitals. 

The government therefore called for collective action with citizens to curb the infections without having to resort to resort to extraordinary measures like a lockdown. The government believes that mass compliance with Covid-19 prevention protocols should suffice to reduce the rate of infections.

Responding to a question about the prospect of a lockdown, Malam Nasir El-Rufai said that the government is counting on the cooperation of citizens to make a lockdown unnecessary.

“Our immediate instinct is not to impose a lockdown, with all its dislocation, disruptions and challenge to the ability of people to pursue livelihoods.

“We are calling on all our citizens to join us to fight Covid-19 and save lives without having a lockdown. We think there are lots of simpler things citizens and businesses can do that can help reduce the spread of the disease.

“We are counting on the cooperation of our citizens, religious leaders, the business community, transporters and other stakeholders in a collective effort to stop Covid-19. We can do it by voluntary compliance.”

The governor said that wearing facemasks in public becomes mandatory from 17 December 2020.

Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, who chairs the State Covid-19 Taskforce, listed the preventive measures to which citizens and businesses are expected to comply. She noted that most of these measures were agreed with various stakeholder groups including religious leaders, businesses, transporters and market unions prior to the easing of the first lockdown in June 2020.

As from 17 December 2020, the following measures are in effect in Kaduna State:

It is mandatory to wear facemasks outside the house.

Large gatherings are prohibited.

Businesses must provide thermometers for temperature checks, and sanitisers or hand-washing equipment and physical distancing measures within all facilities. 

Places of worship must enforce facemasks, provide sanitisers and ensure physical distancing. The number of worshippers will be capped. Congregational worship should not exceed one hour. 

Transport operators must reduce capacity to not more than two passengers per row and not more than 50% of capacity;

Supermarkets and providers of personal services such as hair dressing and barbing salons can remain open, but service providers and customers must use facemasks and limit crowds;

Hotels can remain open, but their restaurants and bars can offer only room service.

Event centres, Night clubs, Gyms and Bars and Lounges are to close until further notice.

Restaurants are restricted to takeaway services only.

The Kaduna State Government appeals for collective compliance with these measures to enable the state tackle the new wave of  Covid-19 infections while allowing citizens to safely pursue their livelihoods. 

Noting that the success of these measures will depend on the cooperation of all citizens and the degree of compliance with the protocols, the government appealed to all residents to see Covid-19 prevention as a vital personal responsibility and to act accordingly.

Muyiwa Adekeye is the Special Adviser to the Governor of Kaduna State on Media  and Communication.

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