It will be recalled that the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 on Thursday said indoor religious gatherings should be limited to 50 per cent with full compliance to public health measures.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the PSC, Boss Mustapha.
The statement, which was made available to journalists in Abuja explained that there had been reduced compliance to public health social measures which had led to increased COVID-19 cases in the country.
The committee however added that it might be forced to introduce more restrictions should there be more increase in cases.
The statement partly reads, “The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 recognises the importance of the Christmas and New Year celebrations for most Nigerians. As we prepare to celebrate with our families and loved ones, it is important that we do so safely by taking the necessary precautionary measures to stop the further spread of COVID-19 in our country.
“The PSC wishes to remind Nigerians that we are now experiencing the fourth wave COVID19 as new cases have continued to rise in the country. This is the result of a mix of very low vaccination coverage, increased travels and movements, reduced compliance to public health social measures and highly transmissible Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant now circulating in the country.
The statement further reads, “Indoor religious congregation should be limited to 50 per cent capacity with full compliance to public health social measures; and facemasks and hand sanitizers should be used at all times regardless of vaccination status while in public spaces;
“Families are advised to limit the number of visitors to their homes and put in place precautionary safety measures, Any gathering in excess of 50 people should be done in open spaces with physical distancing;
“Avoid non-essential interstate travel at this period as this increases the risk of spreading infection from one place to another. People who intend to travel are encouraged to take a rapid COVID-19 test to confirm status as many infected persons are asymptomatic.”
CAN laments FG’s directive on gatherings
When contacted for comments on restrictions at the places of worship during Yuletide, the Christian Association of Nigeria asked Christians to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.
CAN, however, faulted the government’s directive that all gatherings must not exceed 50 per cent capacity.
In a chat with The PUNCH on Thursday, the Spokesman for the CAN President, Rev. Bayo Oladeji, said it was curious that such directives were always issued during Christian holidays.
Oladeji said, “Earlier in a statement we asked all Christians to observe the COVID-19 protocols. But it is very unfortunate that they always bare their fangs during Christmas. That is when they always remember the need to enforce COVID-19 protocols.
“Nobody is enforcing anything in the markets. If you go to the banks, you will see crowds. Even if you go to the airports, you will see crowds. There is no social distancing. I was at the international airport two weeks ago. People were standing. There is no social distancing.”