Buhari signs executive order on COVID-19, slams 6-month jail term on violators of protocols

Chidi Samuel| In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Coronavirus Disease Health Protection 2021 executive order which made the use of face masks in public places compulsory.

The order also slammed six months imprisonment on violators of COVID-19 protocols.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, who made the disclosure during Wednesday’s briefing, said the President signed the document on Tuesday.

According to Mustapha, President Buhari signed the document in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.

Part 2 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.”

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Part 1 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.

“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 per cent capacity of the space, it further stated.

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

“The provisions of these regulations may be varied by Guidelines and Protocols as may be issued, from time to time, by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 on the recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.”

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“The second part of the law addresses operations of public places like open markets, malls, supermarkets, shops, restaurants, hotels, event centres, gardens, leisure parks, recreation centres, motor parks, and fitness centres.

“The law provides for wearing of face masks, hands washing, and the use of hand sanitisers, amongst other regulations.

“It stipulates a penalty of a fine or a prison of six months for offenders. The President said that the law takes immediate effect.”

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