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Published On: Tue, Jun 30th, 2020

Lockdown: FG allows partial, safe reopening of schools

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• Lifts ban on interstate travels
• Nigerians must thank God many not dead – Boss Mustapha

By our correspondent

The Federal Government yesterday relaxed sections of the lockdown order imposed on the country to control the spread of the Coronavirus by allowing gradual reopening of schools nationwide.
This is as the Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said Nigerians must continue to thank God in view of the country’s low mortality rate being recorded following the community spread of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.
This easing of the lockdown is coming on the heels of another phase of relaxation of total lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF) ,disclosed this in Abuja yesterday during the PTF daily briefing.
Mr. Mustapha said that the gradual reopening meant that only the graduating students will be allowed to resume, so as to allow them write their final examinations and graduate, as the current academic year is gradually draws near to a close. .
He 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 II 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 effec
“Maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated 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;
“Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable;
“Publication of revised guidelines around the three thematic areas of general movement, industry and labour; and community activities;
“Provision of technical support for states to mobilise additional resources for the response.”
Following the outbreak of the deadly virus, the FG ordered the closure of schools, including tertiary institutions – in late March 2020, so as to contain the spread of the virus which broke in Wuhan city of China.
However, FG said all primary schools and daycare centres across the Federation remained closed.
The National Coordinator of the PTF Dr Sani Aliyu, said this in Abuja at the panels’s daily briefing.
Dr Aliyu declared that they would be closed until further evaluation was carried out.
The eased lockdown has also partially allowed lifting of the ban on interstate movement, even as it extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by another four weeks.
According to the SGF: “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 expatiated 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”.
Meanwhile, Mustapha, said Nigerians must continue to thank God in view of the country’s low mortality rate being recorded following the community spread of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.
Mustapha stated this when he briefed State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.
He maintained that Nigerians should thank the Almighty God that the mortality rate of the virus had remained low when compared to other countries with similar climatic features like South American countries.
According to him, the mortality rate of the disease is also low due to the age bracket of most of those infected by the virus in the country, saying most victims of the disease are in the age bracket of 31 to 40 years.
“The reason for low mortality is that we just remain grateful to God why the mortality is not very, very high – is a thing that it should be subject of even study because we have the same climatic environment with countries like South American countries like Brazil.
“But you can see that the rate of mortality is quite high – In most countries it falls within the bracket of about five-point-something while ours is about two-point-four and two point five per cent mortality.
“The other thing that is going for us is the age bracket of the infections. You will see that the age bracket that we have, age demographic is between 31 and 40, years and that is a very, very active age.
“Those are the ones that within the percentage of about 80 per cent can wither the infections; some will show mild symptoms and not take ill severely.
“The 20 per cent that is remaining from that are those that are likely to fall sick and five per cent of the 20 per cent are likely to be critically ill that they would require even the level of oxygenation and ventilation,’’ he said.
Mustapha revealed that the PTF had identified 18 Local Government Areas (as against the previous 21) out of the 774 local governments as high burdened with 60 per cent rate of the reported 24,077 infections in the country.
“We have identified 18 Local Governments out of the 774 local governments that are considered to be high-burdened with this infection, they account for 60 per cent of the 24, 077 infections,’’ he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mustapha had earlier briefed the president on the second phase of the gradual easing of lockdown announced four weeks ago, to check the spread of the deadly virus.
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), was accompanied by Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, the Coordinator of the PTF on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu.
The Director General of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, was also in attendance of the meeting with the president.

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