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ECOWAS Suspends Meetings Over COVID-19

Following the continuing outbreak of Coronavirus, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has suspended all meetings involving participants travelling on international flights until further notice.

The Commission has also suspended all local meetings involving more than 50 participants and that all meetings must observe the social distancing rules.

According to the Commission, “local meetings involving more than 50 participants at a specific point in time are discouraged. All meetings should observe the rules of social distancing such as distancing of at least 1.5 metres apart, and staff members are encouraged to make use of technologies through video conferencing to conduct meetings with international participants.”

It expressed concern over the spread of COVID-19 to Senegal (26), Burkina Faso (3), Cote d’Ivoire (3), Nigeria (3), Ghana (2), Guinea (1) and Togo (1).

The Commission has also directed its staff who had been on missions to any high-burden country or country with local transmission of Coronavirus to go into self-isolation for 14 days.

The Commission also instructed all the concerned staff to observe the precaution within two weeks of returning to their duty station.

The Commission, in a directive issued on Monday to its personnel in its headquarters in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, said that only critically necessary missions would be approved.

It also noted that all missions that had not started should be resubmitted to the Head of Institution for approval.

The ECOWAS Commission also said that any of its staff wishing to work from home must phone their superior officers every morning to report, leaving at least two immediate contact details.

It stated that during the period of self-isolation, the staff must remain in their duty stations and continue to work from home using remote technology such as the Internet, phone, Skype and WhatsApp.

According to the directive: “All staff who have been on a mission to any high burden country or country with local transmission within two weeks of returning to their duty station should go into self-isolation for 14 calendar days, counting day one as the day the staff left the hotspot country; transit at the airport does not apply.”

“Those on self-isolation must strictly comply with WHO guidelines for self-isolation and any staff member that develops any symptoms of fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, etc, should not only self-isolate but should also call the dedicated telephone number or Covid 19 toll-free number in the Member State where they work.”

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