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NCDC advises businesses to readjust, plan in extended COVID-19 lockdown

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As the fight against COVID-19 pandemic continues globally, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says there is need for Nigerians, especially businesses to start now to plan for life after the pandemic.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, gave the advice while speaking on Sunrise Daily programme on Channels Television  on Thursday.

He said: “There will be a new COVID-19 era that we will not be the same as the pre-COVID-19’s.

“And I really encourage every small business, every community to be thinking about this because at some point, President Muhammadu Buhari will have to reopen the country slowly.

“I think there will be a gradual, carefully calibrated reopening of the economy.

“I don’t anticipate where everything will be opened at once, schools, markets and  airports will reopen on the same day,’’ he siad.

Ihekweazue notedt that secondly, the people’s behaviours in shops, schools and some of the social distancing we have introduced must continue; every business right now should be prepared.

“They should be thinking of how do I run my business differently, how do I run my restaurant differently, how do I organise my school and teaching differently in the  context of COVID-19.

“And at the same time, we have to keep trying to prevent transmission, so we have to find a middle path between a locked down country and the one that is able to respond to the big public health challenge that we have facing us.’’

On some tips , Ihekweazu said: “I don’t have all the answers but what I am encouraging everyone is to think about how they will run their lives differently in order to stay safe while returning to life.

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“There is no prescription around it because businesses are different, schools, markets, supermarkets, roads, our societies are different.

“So, what I am encouraging every Nigerian is to start thinking about the post-lockdown era and how they will arrange their lives differently.

“How to sustain the handwashing, sustain the sanitisers, sustain the masks that are necessary and sustain physical distancing that we have been able to encourage everyone to act on.

“For example, If I were to be running a restaurant that I will normally have a capacity of 100, I will now plan on how can I run that with 50 not 100, so I can keep people sufficiently apart.

“If I have a school with perharps 1,000 pupils, I will be thinking and planning, perharps, a quarter goes to the playground at a time, another quarter has a different break time and so on; that is the kind of thinking.’’

The NCDC boss reiterated the doggedness of his team and many public health workers across the country in the determination to ensure that the present COVID-19 challenge is curbed. (NAN)

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