Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
Following the rise in coronavirus cases, the minister of the federal capital of Malam, Muhammad Bello, ordered that all bars, restaurants, amusement gardens and event centers be closed for five weeks.
He also directed that informal and formal ceremonies, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sports activities and year-end events, are limited to a maximum of 50 people.
Leaving the emergency meeting of COVID-19 in Abuja on Wednesday, the minister equally ordered that churches and mosques should not have more than 50 percent of believers, noting that social distancing and mandatory use of face masks and hand hygiene must be strictly enforced.
“Executive teams have a mandate to arrest violators and prosecute them through a mobile court system,” Bello said.
This is contained in a statement by Chief Press Minister Anthony Ogunley, entitled, ‘The FCTA is setting new guidelines on controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the territory.’
It read: “All bars, nightclubs, pubs, events and recreational venues in the FCT remain closed for the next five weeks; all restaurants, except those that provide services to hotel residents; take away food, home delivery and ride must remain closed; informal and formal events, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sports activities, year-end events, etc., are limited to a maximum of 50 people in the FCT.
“Facilities for religious events are limited to less than 50 percent of the capacity during which physical removal, mandatory use of face masks and hand hygiene must be strictly carried out.
“Events of more than 50 people should only be held outdoors and virtual meetings are strongly encouraged; public transport systems should carry passengers no more than 50 percent of their capacity in accordance with social exclusion rules. “
The minister said employees of the FCT administration and six regional councils of grade 12 and below will work from home for the next five weeks, adding that the heads of various secretariats, departments and agencies are responsible for complying with regulations.
The administration also ordered all schools in the FCT to stay on vacation until January 18, 2021.
He warned residents over the age of 60 with hypertension and diabetes to stay indoors and avoid unimportant travel inside and outside the FCT.
The government requested Abuja Market Management Ltd. and different market associations to work together to ensure compliance with all guidelines on facial coverage, hand hygiene and physical removal.
“The FCT management will not hesitate to close any market or business premises established in violation of these guidelines,” the statement said.
In the meantime, the Minister visited the Ida COVID-19 Center for Isolation and Treatment, accompanied by senior staff of the Secretariat for Health and Social Welfare and Social Development.
He said the tour was to reaffirm the functionality of all centers in light of the second wave of the pandemic.
Bello expressed satisfaction with the Secretariat for Health and Social Services’ efforts in managing the center, adding that the facilities are being upgraded to accommodate patients who may need further treatment, such as the use of oxygen.
Also, the Acting Secretary of the Secretariat for Health and Social Services, Dr. Muhammed Kawu, said the center is fully functional with a ward with 20 beds for patients who will need intensive interventions.
He found that the second wave of COVID -19 seemed to be more serious because more patients now need intensive care just as some have succumbed to the disease.