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Coronavirus: FCT Minister imposes lockdown on Abuja

Reinstates ban on religious gatherings, nightclubs, others

As part of moves to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Abuja, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Musa Bello, has imposed a partial lockdown on the territory.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the minister, restated the earlier closure of schools and religious houses. He warned of dire consequences should the directive be flouted.

He further announced a ban on all social gatherings, including Parks, Gardens, Event Centres, Night Clubs, Bars, football viewing centres and others.

The minister also directed that civil servants of the FCT Administration on GL12 downwards stay away from work indefinitely. He said only those on essential duties like fire, medical, environmental and security services are exempted from the policy.

Bello who announced that more isolation and treatment centres would be opened in the territory if need be, also directed a partial closure of markets, saying only those selling essential commodities like food and drugs would be allowed to open shop.

He said: “We cannot emphasize enough how dangerous this disease is and that is why the mandatory closure of all schools and restriction of gatherings of not more than 50 people was issued last week. The FCT Administration hereby appreciates the leadership of both Christian and Muslim organisations in the FCT for their support and cooperation in ensuring compliance to this directive. Accordingly, all places of worship are to remain closed.

“As part of implementing the social distance measures, the FCTA hereby bans all gatherings in public parks, gardens, bars, night clubs, event and football viewing centres amongst others until further notice

“In order to better manage cases of infection, the FCTA will work closely with the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital to expand the capacity of the current Isolation and treatment centre to accommodate more patients by providing the essential facilities.

“The Zuba General Hospital will also be converted into an Isolation and Treatment Centre to accommodate more patients should the need arise. Other isolation and treatment facilities are also being prepared.

“In order to contain this virus and curtail its spread, the FCT Administration has taken the decision to enforce a stay-at-home policy for all Its civil servants on Grade Level 01-12 from today, Tuesday, 24th March, 2020 till further notice.

“However, all workers from Grade Level 01-12 on essential duties such as water supply, fire service, security, medical services, environmental protection, emergency services, FEMA, and others are exempted from the stay-at-home policy.

“Shops in the markets and neighbourhood centres in the FCT are to be shut to traders except those who sell essential commodities and medicines. However, pharmacies and supermarkets selling essential products and bakeries are to remain open but abide by strictly laid down measures.”

Also speaking, Minister of State in the FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, explained that the six area councils in the territory had since shut with the exemption of a handful of those on essential duties.

Meanwhile, Senior Pastor of the Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Dr Paul Enenche and his wife Dr Becky Enenche have donated medical equipment and materials to the FCT Administration.

Presenting the items to the Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, the cleric called on organizations and individuals to assist the nation in its effort to contain the Coronavirus.

Some of the equipment and materials donated were hospital beds and mattresses, oxygen cylinders, diagnostic set, Accosson Sphygmomanometer, Micro Haematoent Centrifuge, standing fans, generators and Personal Protective Equipment PPE.

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