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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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Duke of Edinburgh: The world’s longest-serving consort in British History died at 99 (The Highlights & Photo News)

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Duke of Edinburgh: Prince Philip
Philip’s funeral will be held at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, “in line with custom and with His Royal Highness’s wishes,” the College of Arms, which oversees many ceremonial aspects of the royal family’s work, said in a statement Friday.
The statement added that the duke would not have a state funeral, and that the funeral would not be proceeded by a lying-in-state.
“The funeral arrangements have been revised in view of the prevailing circumstances arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and it is regretfully requested that members of the public do not attempt to attend or participate in any of the events that make up the funeral,” the statement added.
The bells of London’s Westminster Abbey, where Prince Philip married Queen Elizabeth more than 70-years-ago, rang on Friday evening in honor of him.
Gun salutes will be fired across the UK at noon on Saturday, the UK Ministry of Defence wrote in a statement. “Across the United Kingdom, in Gibraltar and on HM Ships at sea, saluting batteries will fire 41 rounds at one round every minute for 40 minutes,” it wrote.
“The public are encouraged to observe the gun salutes from home, they will take place behind closed doors but broadcast online and on television,” the statement added.
More details on funeral arrangements are expected to be confirmed by Buckingham Palace on Saturday, according to a royal source.
The royal family joined the British government in asking the public to not gather at the royal residences, in light of coronavirus restrictions, and “make a donation to a charity instead of leaving floral tributes in memory of The Duke of Edinburgh.”
An online condolences book has been launched on the family’s official website for those who wish to leave messages, Buckingham Palace said.
The College of Arms also gave details for the period of mourning, stating that all “official flags, including the Union Flag, will be flown at half-mast from now until 08:00 on the day following the funeral.”
Charles, the Prince of Wales, visited his mother the Queen on Friday afternoon, traveling from his Gloucestershire home to Windsor Castle, a royal source told CNN.
The source also said the Prince of Wales had been in constant contact with his father since his hospitalization in February.
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, said Britain’s Prince Philip would be “greatly missed,” in a statement following the news of the death of Harry’s grandfather.

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Prince
Set on a full-screen dark background, the message, which was posted on the front page of the couple’s Archewell charity, simply reads: “In loving memory of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021. Thank you for your service … you will be greatly missed.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to the duke, saying that he’d “earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world.”
US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden said in a statement: “Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK, the Commonwealth, and to his family. The impact of his decades of devoted public service is evident in the worthy causes he lifted up as patron, in the environmental efforts he championed, in the members of the Armed Forces that he supported, in the young people he inspired.”
Former US President Barack Obama praised the late Prince as “an extraordinary many” who “showed the world what it meant to be a supportive husband to a powerful woman,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Yet he also found a way to lead without demanding the spotlight — serving in combat in World War II, commanding a frigate in the Royal Navy, and tirelessly touring the world to champion British industry and excellence,” he added.

A lifetime of service

Philip, also known by his official title of the Duke of Edinburgh, was the longest-serving British consort. He married the then Princess Elizabeth in 1947 after a courtship that charmed a country still reeling from the ravages of World War II.
In his seven decades of service, Philip often accompanied the Queen on royal engagements, and conducted thousands of his own solo appearances. He once referred to himself as “the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler,” while the Queen lauded him as her “constant strength and guide.”
The duke was known for off-the-cuff remarks that often displayed a quick wit but occasionally missed the mark, sometimes in spectacular fashion. Philip continued making public appearances well into his 90s, retiring only in August 2017.
He supported a number of philanthropic endeavors and was associated with around 800 organizations. He founded the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme, a youth development program that operates in more than 130 countries and territories around the world.
After retiring, Philip spent much of his time at the Queen’s rural Sandringham estate. He was occasionally seen in later years at private family events such as the weddings of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank, both at Windsor Castle.
Philip’s advanced age meant that his health had been the subject of much media focus in recent years. In December 2019, he was taken to hospital as a “precautionary measure” for what Buckingham Palace described as a “pre-existing” condition. He had previously been admitted to hospital on multiple occasions for a variety of reasons, including for a hip replacement and for treatment for bladder infections.
The duke was born the Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on the Greek island of Corfu in 1921. He left Greece aged 18 months with his family when King Constantine was forced to abdicate after a revolt by Greece’s war-stretched military forces. The family moved first to Paris and later, in 1928, to England.
Philip had an itinerant childhood, educated variously in the UK, France, and Germany.
He became a decorated naval officer for his service during World War II, and when peace returned, rekindled an earlier friendship with Elizabeth that quickly blossomed into a public romance.
In order to marry, the duke renounced his Greek title, became a naturalized British subject and took the surname Mountbatten, derived from his mother’s side of the family. The marriage ceremony was held at Westminster Abbey in 1947. He and Elizabeth had four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.
Tributes for the duke have flooded in from all over the world, including the Commonwealth nations of India, Australia and Canada. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had “distinguished career in the military and was at the forefront of many community service initiatives. May his soul rest in peace.”
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Philip “embodied a generation that we will never see again.” Canada’s Justin Trudeau said “Prince Philip was a man of great purpose and conviction, who was motivated by a sense of duty to others. He will be fondly remembered as a constant in the life of our Queen.”

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Senate urges FG to procure COVID-19 vaccines for Nigerians

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covid-19 Vaccine

Senate urges FG to procure COVID-19 vaccines for Nigerians

The Senate has urged the Federal Government to make sufficient funds available for procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines for Nigerians.

It described as unfortunate the failure by government to produce a plan for the purchase, distribution and administration of the therapy despite the fact that many nations globally had done so.

Adopting a motion sponsored on Thursday, Dec 3, by Senator Oloriegbe Ibrahim during plenary presided over by Senate President Ahmad Lawan in Abuja, the upper legislative chamber directed its Committee on Health and Primary Health Care to summon the Ministries of Health and Finance, as well as the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and other relevant agencies for their plans.

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The lawmakers regretted that “the only plan on COVID-19 vaccine for Nigeria is the pledge by Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI) to support 20 per cent of the country’s requirement.”

This support, according to them, would cover only the cost of the treatment without taking care of logistics for distribution and administration.

The legislature added: “Despite the change in the epidemiology trends of the disease, the financial plan developed by the country and World Bank in April 2020 to fund the response to the pandemic is still being implemented without taking due cognisance of the changes by re-allocating the funds to vaccine procurement.”

It noted that failure to administer vaccines in the nation would result in Nigeria’s inability to contain further infections and a possible ban on Nigerians by countries across the world.

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COVID-19: Chinese Embassy Issues Nigerians and Other Nationals Travel Restrictions into China

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COVID-19: Chinese Embassy Issues Nigerians and Other Nationals Travel Restrictions into China

The Chinese authorities have issued fresh travel restrictions into China by Nigerians and other nationals in Nigeria holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits.

A public notice issued by the Embassy of China and Consulate in Nigeria today November 5, states that the decision was based on the COVID19 concerns in Nigeria. Other countries placed on temporary travel restrictions include the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, Philippines, and a few others.

 

The Chinese embassy says it will no longer issue certified health declaration form for non-Chinese nationals in the country. It, however, said holders of diplomatic passports, courtesy, or C visas would not be affected by the regulation.

 

‘Notice of temporary suspension of entry into China by non-Chinese nationals in Nigeria holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits.’

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China has decided to temporarily suspend entry into China by non-Chinese nationals in Nigeria holding visas or residence permits still valid at the time of this announcement.

The Chinese Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria will no longer issue a certified health declaration form for the above-mentioned personnel. Entry by holders of diplomatic service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected.

Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency needs may apply for visas at the Chinese Embassy or Consulate. Entry by non-Chinese nationals in Nigeria with visas issued after November 3, 2020, will not be affected.” the public notice read

Reacting to the development, the spokesman, Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry, Wang Wenbin, told AFP that the entry suspension was a legitimate and valid move consistent with international customary practices.

 

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