Reopening the economy, schools: We have to be cautious not cause further health hazards – Okowa
Okowa made this known while briefing State House correspondents after the virtual NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the council took the report on the interface between NEC’s Adhoc Committee and the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 on the ease of the lockdown and reopening of the economy.
“A lot has been done because we have had several meetings with the PTF and our inputs have been taken in the briefings to the president and the guidelines have been released”.
“Since we started the meeting on May 28, lots of decisions have been taken and these decisions have already started to impact on the economy”.
“Currently, both the formal and informal sectors of the economy have gradually been reopened apart from a few segments that still need to be discussed and we have also realised that the rural areas have also been opened to farming activities”.
“And we have also in the course of our discussion agreed on the need to open the interstate borders to travels which also means travels by both road and train services is now possible and domestic flights are suppose to have resumed from yesterday July 8.’’
According to him, there are still other sectors of the economy that may not be open until further discussions are held.
He said the interface also discussed the issue concerning the reopening of worship centres and in many states of the federation, including FCT.
“Worship centres have been reopened with good protocols to be put in place which ought to be monitored by the various states and the FCT.
“So, a lot is actually been done; we talked about the issue of opening up schools but this will be further be discussed later today following the press briefing that was given by the Minister of Education.
“So, we will be meeting with the PTF on COVID-19 this evening at 8pm to further discuss issues surrounding the opening of schools but the economy is open now apart from restrictions to international travels and restrictions to sporting activities.
“The other course that had to be stood down is the resumption of higher institutions and other classes aside the graduating classes and also in the work place.
“In the work place, there are still some restrictions; not all civil servants are allowed to come to work because of the likelihood of crowding; so that is being further discussed in various states.
“I do know that civil servants in various categories are allowed to come but not the totality of the workforce.’’
He said that the reopening of bars, night clubs and other entertainment centres was still be on hold until further discussions were taken.
Okowa said that advice was being taken from consultants who were monitoring the rate of transmission in the country.
“We have already entered community transmission and we are careful to ensure that as we open up the economy, we do not create a danger to the lives of Nigerians.
“So, generally, we think the best we can do as a country is to open up the economy; the economy is actually opening and we have to do it in a manner that we do not cause further health hazards,’’ he said.(NAN)