Don’t shut down businesses over rising COVID cases, Anap Think Tank tells FG

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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 not to shut down businesses over the rise in COVID-19 cases.

In a statement on Saturday, Atedo Peterside, chairman of the foundation, and Abubakar Siddique Mohammed, its vice-chairman, said the government ought to adopt a smart crisis management plan to address the second wave of the pandemic.

They asked the government to take into consideration the realities in the country in its decisions to deal with the second wave, and also allow all businesses stay open.

“We therefore call on all stakeholders, led by the Federal and State Governments, to come up with a smart crisis management plan to address this second wave,” they said.

“Our response must take into consideration Nigeria’s realities: recession, high unemployment and rising insecurity: we cannot shut down small businesses. While countries across the world are experimenting with variations of lockdown measures to balance lives and livelihoods as infection cases rise amidst the yuletide season and festivities, we should look to countries with similar realities such as Ethiopia and Senegal.

“We recommend: One, businesses stay open across the country on the condition that all Nigerians self-regulate and ‘celebrate responsibly’ by wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distance from others, avoiding indoor crowds and washing hands frequently.

“Two, the intensification of campaigns on public health policy behavioral change with firm and humane oversight by applicable agencies and society leaders. Three, those who can, should be encouraged to work from home.

“Finally, Nigeria need not join the reactive ban on flights to and from the United Kingdom and/or other hotspots due to our existing robust travel protocols requiring tests before boarding, 7 days isolation on arrival and a second test.

“However, closer monitoring of the post-arrival COVID quarantine of travellers into Nigeria will help limit the risk of imported infections.

“We believe that effective implementation of the above measures along with adherence to recent awareness campaigns spearheaded by NCDC, PTF, Kaduna and Lagos State Governments can help ease the hardship on citizens whilst curbing the spread of COVID-19.”

As of December 25, Nigeria had recorded 82,747 COVID-19 confirmed cases.

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