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Anap Think Tank asks FG to end lockdown

Anap Think Tank asks FG to end lockdown
April 23
11:42 2020
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The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank, a group established to respond to the coronavirus disease, has asked the federal government to end the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the federal capital territory (FCT).

President Muhammadu Buhari had extended the lockdown in the two states and the FCT by two weeks on April 13 so as to check the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, governors also agreed to ban movement among states for two weeks as a part of efforts to contain the spread of the disease.

But in a statement by Atedo Peterside and Abubakar Mohammed, chairman and vice-chairman of Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank, the group asked the government and other stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of the compulsory lockdowns and “the unintended consequences which they continue to generate”.

The group said since the commencement of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, the number of people being infected has increased while the spread of the disease to other parts of the country has become rapid.

It said the longer the lockdown continues, the higher the risk of a breakdown in law and order.

The group suggested a movement towards an “intelligent and sustainable lockdown” which it said is based largely around voluntary compliance.

“It is time to review the strategy, as it is clear that Compulsory Lockdowns are not working. Food has become a lot more expensive in various urban centres, as transportation costs have soared due to rising security obstacles, arbitrary closure of inter-state borders and other supply chain disruptions,” it said.

“Restricted market days and curfews often result in needless overcrowding thereby negating adherence to Social Distancing. There has also been a rise in protests and mob action.

“We believe there is a need to change direction from a Compulsory Lockdown to an Intelligent Lockdown (as practiced by a few countries) which largely thrives on voluntary actions by an informed populace.

“The original expected benefit of the Compulsory Lockdowns was to buy some time so that public enlightenment and awareness campaigns could educate the populace whilst also helping to popularize self-quarantine. These awareness campaigns and self-quarantine measures have helped and they should continue.

“To implement an Intelligent Lockdown, the Anap COVID-19 Think Tank envisages that most economic activities should be allowed to resume cautiously. In addition, we make the following specific recommendations:

“End Compulsory Lockdowns and intensify public enlightenment and awareness of the importance of behavioural changes i.e. Social Distancing in public and in public transportation (with rules that prevent overcrowding), wearing masks, improve sanitation and provision of water in public places to facilitate washing of hands.

“We urge the 3-tiers of Government, NGOs and the Private Sector to distribute to all citizens reusable/washable masks and ensure that security and healthcare professionals have the right Personal Protective Equipment for their roles.

“The suspension of large public, social, and religious gatherings should continue until further notice and schools should remain closed. Those who can, should work from home.

“The Federal Government should make arrangements for Nigerians trapped abroad to return home.”

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