Buhari Signs COVID-19 Regulations, Violators Face Imprisonment

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Coronavirus Disease Health Protection 2021 which made the use of face masks in public places mandatory among other measures to curtail spread of COVID-19.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday that the President signed the document on Tuesday.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said the President signed the document in exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.

Part two of the regulation stipulates that no person shall be allowed within the premises of a market, mall, supermarket, shop, restaurants, hotels, event centres, gardens, leisure parks, recreation centres, motor parks, fitness centre or any other similar establishment “except he is wearing a face covering that covers the nose and mouth; he washes his hands or cleaned the hands using hand sanitiser approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control; and his body temperature has been checked. Any person found to have a body temperature above 38 degrees Celsius shall be denied entry and advised to immediately seek medical attention.”

Part one which deals with restrictions on gatherings stipulates that at all gatherings, a physical distance of at least two metres shall be maintained at all times between persons.

It added, “Notwithstanding the provision of Regulation 1, no gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50% capacity of the space.

“All persons in public gatherings, whether in enclosed or open spaces, shall adhere to the provisions of Part 2 of these Regulations.”

Part three, among other provisions, stipulates that persons confirmed to have tested positive to COVID-19 by an NCDC accredited laboratory, may not refuse isolation and or admission to a designated health establishment for management of the disease.

Part four which, deals with penalties, stipulates a fine or six months imprisonment or both for violators.

It read, “Any person who contravenes the provisions of these Regulations commits an offence.

“Any person who, without reasonable cause, contravenes a direction given under Parts 1 and 2 of these Regulations commits an offence.

“Any person who, without reasonable cause, obstructs an authorised official from enforcement of these Regulations commits an offence.

“An offence under these Regulations is punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine or a term of six months imprisonment or both in accordance with Section 5 of the Quarantine Act.”

Part 5 which deals with enforcement and application read “Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, and other relevant Local Government, State and Federal Government agencies are hereby directed to enforce the provisions of these Regulations.

“Any officer of the enforcement agencies who fails, neglects, or refuses to enforce the provisions of these Regulations shall be subject to disciplinary action by the disciplinary body of his respective agency.”

Self-isolating Ortom tests positive for COVID-19, aides’ fate unknown

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Wednesday went into self isolation following his COVID-19 positive status.

It was gathered that he tested positive after nine of his aides tested positive for the virus.

Ortom spokesman, Terver Akase, had earlier announced that the governor tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement in Makurdi, the CPS said, “The latest result of his (governor Ortom)  COVID-19 test has returned positive.

“This follows the test results of most of the governor’s close aides who also returned positive in the last few weeks.

“Though the governor has not shown any symptoms of the disease, he has already commenced treatment as prescribed by medical personnel.”

A source said the governor was on self isolation and not in any of the isolation centres.

This is the third time within one year that the governor would go into self isolation for the virus.

Recall that the governor in July 2020 went into isolation when his wife, son and some personal staff tested positive for the virus.

Early January, Ortom also went into self isolation when a permanent secretary and his family members tested positive for COVID-19.

Although the government was silent on the identity of the aides, recall that the governor’s personal physician, aide de camp, orderly, private principal staff had recently tested positive.

Deputy governor and chairman, State Action committee on COVID-19, Benson Abounu, on Wednesday also declined to mention the nine aides that tested positive for COVID-19.

On contact tracing, Abounu said, “We are doing a lot of contact tracing, the governor is surrounded by officials.

“Don’t forget that the governor was in isolation about a month ago. When he was okay, he came out of isolation, only for nine of his aides to test positive and that is what made him to give samples two days ago for testing.”

150 Nasarawa health workers test positive

‌Also, the Nasarawa State Government said 150 health workers, mostly doctors, have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state.

The state Commissioner for Health, Ahmed Baba-Yahaya, who disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday shortly after a three-day workshop for medical doctors, said the figures comprised mostly of doctors.

He said, “Over 150 health workers have tested positive of COVID-19 in Nasarawa State.

“This workshop is part of the state government’s efforts towards reducing the spread in the number of people tested positive for the COVID-19 and to create awareness and educate citizens of the state on its danger of second wave of the pandemic.”

The Chief Medical Director, Nasarawa State Hospital Management Board, Dr Edego Egba urged health workers not to panic but be dedicated to their duties to protect lives in the state.

Director Public Health, Nasarawa State, Dr Ibrahim Alhasan, said over 100 doctors were participating in the training.

Cross River health workers get PPEs, others

Additionally, the Cross River State Ministry of Health has distributed personal protective equipment and other medical items to frontline health workers in the state.

The Cross River State COVID-19 Taskforce Chairman and Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, said on Wednesday that frontline health workers must be equipped with COVID-19 prevention materials as safety must first begin with them.

Edu said, “The second wave of COVID-19 has come. For our frontline health workers who are always at the forefront of this fight to continue to be safe, we must take the responsibility of not only protecting them, but supporting them with all the necessary COVID-19 prevention equipment.

“The equipment includes PPEs, hand sanitisers, face masks, latex gloves, isolation gowns infrared thermometers, body bags, boots and scrubs.”

‘Ondo schools shun protocols’

Also, the Ondo State Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 on Wednesday alleged that some primary and secondary schools in the state were disobeying the COVID-19 protocols.

It said the government would close down any school that failed to uphold and enforce COVID-19 preventive protocols.

The chairman of the committee, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, said this during inspection of schools across the state.

He said, “Some schools had no hand washing facilities, while students without face masks were allowed into the schools by the school management.”

Fatisu, who is also the Vice Chancellor, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo,  however, commended the management of some schools where the protocols were observed and urged the students to be COVID-19 prevention ambassadors.

In the same vein, the state Acting Commissioner for Health, Dr Jibayo Adeyeye, stressed that if care was not taken, pupils who contract the virus in school would spread it in their homes and other places of engagements.

He said the government will not “ hesitate to close down schools that are deviant to COVID-19 protocols in the interest of the community.”

Four Edo COVID-19 convicts get additional punishments

A mobile court sitting in Benin, Edo State has ruled that four persons convicted for violating the state protocol against the spread of COVID-19 would undergo two days of three-hour community service for attempting to mislead the court.

A statement on Wednesday said the convicts had pleaded not guilty to charges brought against them, but a witness proved beyond reasonable doubt that they had indeed violated the state’s prevention protocol.

The Chief Magistrate, Bright Eraze Oniha, sentenced the four convicts to two days of three-hour daily community service, while 18 other violators were slammed with three-hour community service within the court premises as punishment for the day.

The four persons who got two-day community service sentences are Omoruyi Osagie, Tanimowole leke, Francis Osarumen and Uche Uwa.

The 22 persons were all convicted for disobeying the restriction of movement order.

The Punch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *