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Lockdown: FG Lifts Interstate Travel Ban, Set to Reopen Schools

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Lockdown: FG Lifts Interstate Travel Ban, Set to Reopen Schools

The Federal Government has extended the Phase Two of the eased lockdown by four weeks, but partially lifted the ban on interstate movement.

Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce PTF on Covid-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha disclosed this at a briefing Monday in Abuja.

 He said within this extended phase, there will also be a safe re-opening of schools to allow graduating students back to classes, while interstate movements would only take place outside curfew hours.

 Announcing the new measures, the SGF said;

“I am pleased to inform you that Mr. President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later, the Phase Two of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020, through Midnight of Monday, 27 July 2020.

“Specifically, however, the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect: Maintaining the current phase of the national response for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatriated by the National Coordinator; Permission of movement across State borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July 2020; Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular, the use of face masks in public places; Safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations and; Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable”.

 Only pupils in Primary Six and students in Junior and Senior Secondary Three would be allowed back to classes to write their terminal examinations. Non-compliance Mustapha lamented the continued and general non-compliance with safety measures, noting that Nigeria could experience a resurgence of Covid-19 infections.

 He said;

“The PTF also escalated its activities around risk communication to Nigerians but we have observed with growing concerned the non-compliances with these measures designed to prevent transmission and protect vulnerable segments of the population.

“We hold the strong view that if such actions do not abate, experiences of the resurgence of the virus from other jurisdictions including China, the United States of America, Brazil and across Europe may emerge in Nigeria and we run the risk of erasing the gains made in the last three months”.

According to him, the spread has entered the community phase which only States and local governments should drive, adding that the inaction of a particular State could endanger its neighbors and compromise the entirety of the response.

The SGF added that the Federal Government will predicate its resource deployment to States on the level of compliance and the extent of collaboration received on this public health emergency. Increased airfares Mustapha said there is a general increase in the prices of goods and services, saying airlines would have to increase their fares to remain afloat.

He said; “I think there is a general increase in everything, not only air tickets. If you go to the market now, the prices prior to Covid-19 are different from what you get in the market now. That is the difficult thing that is going to confront us as a people. Because of the protocols that are going to be introduced in the whole business of aviation, you would definitely expect an increase in the fares. The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria FAAN has already increased its customer service fare by 100 percent. It used to be ₦1000 but now it is ₦2000 even before the operations start.

So, it is not just the airlines, even the government institutions who have the responsibility of managing the aviation industry will review their charges because that is the nature of what Covid-19 has thrust on the people of the country and all over the world.

“Also, there is going to be some bit of social distancing in the aircraft. If an aircraft has the capacity of 150 people, they might now be restricted to about 100 or 75. Flying comes with components of cost. Aviation fuel is one of them. Salaries for the pilot and cabin crew are part of it. Services that are paid for to the aviation industry institutions are there.

The costs have to be shared by the passengers and the business owners because nobody runs a business at a loss. Profit is the motivation for going into business. Flying is not a social service”, he declared. Precision measures National Coordinator of the Taskforce, Dr. Sani Aliyu said while it is difficult to lock down some areas without defined boundaries, the PTF would ensure that all other non-pharmaceutical measures are strictly adhered to in the 18 high burden local government areas.

 According to him, only essential movements would be allowed. He said; “On the restriction of movements in specific local governments, we are still working with the state governments because you cannot lock down local governments without working the states. Some of these local governments, by their geographical locations, do not have defined borders.

We will be sending out clarifications as soon as we finish this piece of work. The restriction of movements in these local governments is only one of several interventions that we are putting in, in terms of hotspots. The precision target in these areas includes not only to improve testing but isolation and to make sure that we do a lot of risk communication and public awareness activities.

“So, cessation of movements are only part of it and in some of the local governments, it may not be practicable to do so. We already know some local governments where it will be impossible to enforce this.

“But overall, what we are trying to do is to put out the small fires across the country rather than trying to fight a raging fire across the whole country which will be very difficult and will also be damaging, economically, for us.

“So, for those areas where we have a high burden, where the numbers are increasing rapidly, where we have a high positivity rate, we will be introducing specific precision measures working with the state governments to make sure we get on top of this. This is something that will continue to be reviewed. We expect some local governments to drop after the interventions and some to be added”.

He said state governments were consulted before the decision to lift the ban on interstate movement, adding that no one would be allowed to travel within curfew hours. “We expect people to plan their travels to make sure that wherever you are, certainly the 10 pm to 4 am curfew remains”.

 Although the PTF did not list the local governments, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC had listed 20 local governments as of May 29, tagging them as high burden areas. The local governments were spread across eight states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which include; Lagos, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Bauchi, Borno, Edo, Ogun, and FCT.

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COVID-19 Quarantine: 18% in-bound passengers not traceable — Sanwo-Olu

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By Gistflash News

July 12, 2021

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says 18 per cent of passengers that arrived Lagos through Murtala Mohammed Airport cannot be traced for COVID-19 quarantine.

Sanwo-Olu made this known on Sunday in the update of the coronavirus pandemic situation in Lagos State.

He said that between May 8, 2021 and July 7, 2021, a total of 50,322 passengers of interest arrived in Lagos via the Murtala Mohammed Airport.

”Of the 50,322 passengers, 18 per cent could not be reached by EKOTELEMED because of the provision of either wrong numbers or wrong Nigerian contact details to be reached on,” the Chief Incident Commander said.

He said that it was the responsibility of passengers to ensure they provided the right details for them to be reached for proper monitoring.

”Going forward, passengers that do not provide the right details, including a phone number they can be reached for monitoring and an address for isolation, will face serious sanctions, including fines and imprisonment according to our Lagos State Coronavirus Law of 2021.

”As dictated by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC), passengers from red-listed countries (India, South Africa, Brazil and Turkey) are required to observe mandatory isolation.

”So far, we have successfully isolated 2,386 passengers in Lagos State. Of this number, 15 per cent have absconded,” Sanwo-Olu said.

He said that sanctions were being recommended and had already been meted out to defaulters.

The governor said that the sanctions for foreigners were revocation of their Permanent Residency and deportation; while for Nigerians were prosecution to the full extent of the Lagos State COVID-19 Law.

He also said that greater vigilance was required at this time in the churches and mosques and other places of religious worship.

Sanwo-Olu said that the state was pleased that religious houses were now open for worship, after the lengthy closures of 2020, however, worshippers must not be carried away by the illusion that all was now back to normal.

”This is especially critical, as Sallah approaches, in a little over a week from now.

”The festivities will no doubt bring people together in large numbers and create conditions that can sadly cause the spread of the coronavirus. We must not allow this to happen.

”For this reason, we are mandating full compliance with all protective protocols.

”There must be compulsory use of masks in all public places, social distancing, temperature checks, provisions for hand-washing and sanitisers, and a maximum of 50 per cent occupancy in enclosed spaces,” he said.

NAN

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COVID-19 taskforce uncovers Delta variant in Oyo State

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By Gistflash News

July 12, 2021

The Oyo State Coronavirus Task Force says it has uncovered  the Delta variant of the virus  in the state.
A statement by Mr Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Seyi Makinde, issued on behalf of the taskforce on Sunday in Ibadan, said the general public should be informed of the Delta variant of the virus in the state.
Adisa said the State’s Incident Manager and coordinator of the Emergency Operations Centre, Dr Olabode Ladipo, has confirmed the  development.
He  said the general public should take extra caution and consistently apply all precautionary measures earlier released by the task force.
The statement read: “This strain has been associated with high transmission, increase severity of infection and outcomes.
“As such, this is to warn that the virus is still very much within the society.”
“All in-bound travellers should always isolate for seven days and submit themselves for tests.
“The ‘Own Your Action’ (OYA) initiative of the state government should be seriously considered by adhering to the guidelines of wearing nose masks in public gatherings, washing of hands with soap and water and use of hand sanitisers, among others.
“The State COVID-19 TaskForce hereby appeals to the good people of Oyo State to comply with these and other advisories as they apply to individuals and organisations.
“It would be appreciated if all in-bound travellers from abroad maintain the mandatory seven-day isolation and subsequent testing before mingling with the populace.
“In addition, residents are enjoined to seek medical care and cease the opportunity of free testing whenever they feel unwell.
“Vigilance on the parts of both the Government and the people will surely go a long way in stemming the transmission of this disease within the state”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on July 8 confirmed the index case of the deadly Delta variant in Nigeria.

NAN

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NCDC confirms deadly Delta variant of COVID-19 in Nigeria

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By Gistflash News

July 9, 2021

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has  detected a confirmed case of the SARS-CoV-2, known as the Delta variant in Nigeria.

The NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Abuja.

NAN reports that the deadly Delta variant is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a variant of concern.

The WHO said that the Delta variant was ‘dangerous’ and continued to evolve and mutate, and thus requiring constant evaluation and careful adjustment of the public health response.

Ihekweazu said the variant was detected in a traveller to Nigeria, following the routine travel test required of all international travelers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.

“As part of Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, NCDC has been working with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) and other laboratories within the national network to carry out genomic sequencing.

”This is to enable the detection of variants of concern and initiate response activities.

“All data on variants from Nigeria have been published on GISAID, a global mechanism for sharing sequencing data.

”Given the global risk of spread of the Delta variant, positive samples from international travelers to Nigeria are sequenced regularly.

“The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19  has initiated several measures  to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19.

”This includes the introduction of travel restrictions for countries where there is a surge in cases associated with widespread prevalence of variants of concern.

“The national travel protocol which includes compulsory seven-day self-isolation and repeat test on the seventh day after arrival, are in place to reduce the risk of spread of the virus.

”It is very important that this is strictly adhered to, to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria,” he explained.

Given the high transmissibility of the Delta variant and following its detection in Nigeria, the NCDC boss urged all Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to public health and social measures in place.

“Proven public health and social measures such as physical distancing, frequent hand washing and proper use of face masks prevent infections and save lives.

”The COVID- 19 vaccine is safe and effective and offers protection against the disease,” he advised.

Additionally, he urged states to ensure sample collection and testing for COVID-19 was accessible to Nigerians.

“Public settings such as schools with accommodation facilities, workplaces and camps should utilise the approved Antigen-based Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for rapid testing of their population,” he added.

He said although Nigeria had seen a low number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria in the last eight weeks, it is incredibly important that we do not forget to be careful.

“Please protect yourselves and the people you love by adhering to the known public health and social measures, getting vaccinated if you are eligible and getting tested if you have symptoms.”

The NCDC boss said the recommended control measures to limit the spread of the new variant was continued testing, following the existing public health guidance and abiding by the current travel and public restrictions.

NAN

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