Mobilizing for a generational change

Relax curfew, extend business hours, says foundation

By Robert Egbe

The Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank on Sunday urged the federal and state governments to consider relaxing curfews and extending business hours.

It said lifting the curfew or limiting it to the six hours between 11pm and 5am will help ease overcrowding.

The foundation made the recommendations, among others, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Atedo Peterside and Vice Chairman, Abubakar Siddique Mohammed.

There have been massive crowds at banks in several states since last Monday following easing of the lockdown, resulting in social distancing violations.

The group thanked the government and its agencies for their anti-coronavirus efforts thus far, but recommended “intensification of behaviour change communication campaigns on physical distancing, hand washing and wearing cloth face coverings in public, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

It also made three other suggestions.

“We strongly believe that implementing some or all of the measures will help in achieving the government’s objective of easing hardship on the citizens, while curbing the spread of COVID-19,” it said.

They are: “Lengthen business hours and reserve one or two hours for the exclusive service of the elderly, especially at banks and supermarkets in consideration of their extra vulnerability to Covid-19.

“Businesses must enforce physical distancing of 2 metres between customers. Compulsory wearing of cloth face coverings in public places and public transportation and continued ban of physical congregational religious activities and other social events and/or ceremonies.”

It noted the recent clamour by some religious leaders to allow physical congregation since limited economic activities have commenced, but disagreed with the call.

“Worship can take place personally, at home or virtually and we firmly believe that it is not yet time to allow congregational religious activities. Religious and social gatherings, ceremonies and economic activities which have a strong propensity for physical contact should not be the priority at this time,” the Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank said.

The 18-member Think Tank comprises private sector professionals and clerics from Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones, the United States of America (USA) and Germany.

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