COVID-19: PTF Mulls Lockdown of Major Urban Areas

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SWITZERLAND, JANUARY 29 – The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 is considering targeted lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; as well as Lagos and Plateau States.

PTF National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Muhammed, who stated this on Friday, described as alarming, the rising cases of Covid infections recorded in the three urban areas.

Muhammed said data showed that urban local governments in the affected places recorded the highest cases of Covid amid the second wave of the pandemic in Nigeria. According to data by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Lagos (46,935 cases), Abuja (16,470 cases), Plateau (7,801) have recorded the highest number of Covid infections and fatalities in Nigeria in the last eleven months.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, the PTF official said the Federal Government wants economic activities to continue but these activities must be in a regulated fashion.

When asked of the possibility of a targeted lockdown and not a total lockdown based on data of hotspot areas, Muhammed said, “That is exactly what we did, we have been analysing the data and we have been looking at the geographical areas that have been most affected and the different age groups.”

“Certainly, even if we are going to have a lockdown, it is not going to be a total lockdown. A couple of weeks back, we analysed the data and we identified the hotspot local government areas.

“Mostly, the areas affected are the urban local governments in Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Plateau. Even in most other states, it is the urban areas that are involved. So, if we are going to have any restriction, it will be in these areas.

“The urban areas are the most affected and that is why we have these superspreaders and that is where we are going to target. We have analysed that and we are advising the states based on the data that these are the focused areas where these transmissions are more than the others,” he added.

The Federal Government in March 2020 locked down Abuja Lagos and Ogun for over five weeks as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic.

The lockdown had a tremendous effect on economic activities with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry putting the loss at about N3bn in the period under review.

Many jobs were also lost as airlines, hotels, banks, amongst others cut their workforce due to the crushing effect of the lockdown

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