The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday urged Nigerians to proceed with caution with the eased restriction as it could change course depending on the trajectory of the Coronavirus infections.
The Chairman of the task force, Mr Boss Mustapha, gave this advice during a briefing on the COVID-19 update in Abuja.
According to him, despite the latest relaxation, there is need to proceed with caution.
He said: “One significant observation the PTF wishes to make is that new rise in cases is to be expected as nations start to ease restrictions.
“We shall, however, proceed with caution and we shall not hesitate to change course when the need arises.
“What this means is that Nigerians should never mistake the relaxation by the government as a signal that the COVID-19 battle had been concluded.
“We are in the early days of the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown and we shall always remind ourselves of the reason for these uncommon times facing humanity.
”This is the time to comply with the guidelines, it is the time to be vigilant and to take responsibility.”
Mustapha, also the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), said that following the announcement of the extension of phase two and some new measures on June 30, the Aviation sector had announced July 8, July 11 and July 15 as dates for the gradual resumption of domestic flights.
While thanking Nigerians for their patience and understanding, the SGF urged that they strictly abide with the new airport protocols as he observed that in the aviation industry, safety and security were paramount.
He recalled that the PTF had similarly announced some limited measures for the education sector that were now being misconstructed.
Mustapha said: “Specifically, we pointed out that it was still not safe to reopen schools.
“However, in order not to truncate the progression of pupils and students in critical examination classes, the President approved that arrangements be made for them to resume for those who need revision before the commencement of examinations.
“This aspect has been subjected to several interpretations and misinterpretations.
“For the avoidance of doubts, schools have not resumed. Only critical examination classes will be allowed to resume for those who need revision before examinations.
“As we have informed you, the Federal Ministry of Edication will consult further with stakeholders before issuing guidelines that will lead to full resumption.
“We appeal to Nigerians to continue to show understanding and to ensure that their wards take full advantage of electronic platforms provided for learning,” he added
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Felix Ajide (NAN)
Australia records deadliest day of pandemic as Melbourne cases surge
Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria has experienced another record-breaking daily increase in COVID-19 cases and related deaths, making it the country’s deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic.
The state recorded 725 new virus cases and 15 COVID-19-related deaths, including a man, aged 30 years, Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim, Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, said on Wednesday.
Both figures mark the worst day of the pandemic for the state, as well as nationally, since the pandemic started.
The death toll from the virus in Victoria is now 162, while it is 247 nationally.
Most of the new cases and deaths overnight were in Victoria’s capital city, Melbourne.
For more than a month, Victoria has consistently recorded triple-digit daily case numbers amid a second wave that broke out in Melbourne in late June.
The state’s previous record was 723 new cases on July 30.
Earlier this week, Andrews declared a state of disaster and imposed tough new restrictions on Melbourne, including a night-time curfew and closing down businesses, retail shops and manufacturing.
Andrews said, on Wednesday, that essential workers will be required to show they have a permit to leave their homes if asked by the Police from Thursday onwards.
While healthcare workers and police officers can use their official identification, all others have to apply for the permit online.
Restrictions, which are in place until Sept. 13, also prohibit residents from travelling more than five kilometres from their home to go grocery shopping or exercise.
All recreational activities and weddings have been banned and face masks are mandatory.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Dollar slips as yields dive on recovery worries
The dollar fell in Asia on Wednesday, hitting a five-month low on the yuan.
A hardening perception that the United States recovery is lagging Europe has buttressed the euro, which has repelled a rebound in the dollar and rose back above $1.18 on Wednesday.
At the same time speculation that stalemate over fiscal policy in Washington could leave the Federal Reserve with more to do, has hastened a steady decline in United States yields – undermining the dollar more broadly.
Sterling, the Australian dollar and the kiwi all climbed back toward pre-pandemic highs, while the yen rose and gold soared as real yields plumbed record lows.
“United States economic outperformance, relative to the eurozone and Japan, is no longer guaranteed given the damage from the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ said Tai Hui, J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s chief strategist in Asia.
“Dollar interest rates are also converging to other developed economies’ interest rates, which means that the dollar is less appealing,’’ Hui said.
He added it is difficult to see the Fed easing policy ahead of its global peers.
The Australian dollar led gains among the majors with a 0.4 per cent rise to $0.7189.
Ten-year Australian government debt now yields about 31 basis points more than 10-year United States government debt, up from 16 basis points two months ago.
The New Zealand dollar rose 0.3 per cent to $0.6646, catching some support from a surprise dip in the jobless rate.
The yen rose 0.1 per cent to 105.60 per dollar and sterling edged higher to $1.3091.
Even the Chinese yuan, which had struggled to capitalise on the dollar’s weakness amid simmering Sino-United States tensions, forged higher to a five-month top of 6.9570 per dollar in onshore trade.
Other Asian currencies also made gains, notably the Malaysian ringgit, which was stronger than 4.2 per dollar for the first in five months.
The dollar has been sliding since March, but its prime antagonist in recent weeks has been the euro, which in July posted its best month in almost 10 years.
That has the common currency more or less back where it began life in 1999 and has many investors convinced it can keep climbing as a Europe-wide fiscal relief package anchors recovery and allays perennial worries about the bloc’s stability.
“Right now, looming long-term negative United States issues – like the dollar’s reserve status as the United States and China decouple – are at the forefront of FX concerns and not the euro’s structural problems,’ said Deutsche Bank strategist, Alan Ruskin.
“The door to $1.20+ remains wide open,’’ he said.
For now, eyes are on Washington where White House negotiators have vowed to work “around the clock” with congressional Democrats to try to reach a deal on coronavirus relief by the end of this week.
Investors expect steady services growth in Europe and a slowdown in the United States in hiring, with surprises on any front likely to illuminate the apparent divergence between Europe and the United States
Analysts at ING have also noted that equity investors have yet to really buy into the European recovery story – and say a pile-in could provide even more support to the currency.
“Buy-side surveys suggest that investors are still heavily overweight United States equities, especially tech stocks, and are minded to rotate into the Eurozone and see the euro as cheap,’’ said ING’s global head of markets, Chris Turner.
“If that rotation comes to pass … then euro/dollar may be a $1.25 story after all.’’
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Mobile Police Training School, not personal asset of I-G – Police
The Police say the Mobile Police Training School in Nasarawa State was a national security legacy project and not a personal asset of the Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mba said establishing the school in Endehu, Nasarawa State, was informed by overriding national security consideration on the need to strengthen the operational capacity of the special forces of the Nigeria Police Force.
He said that the IGP had not used his office to threaten Mobile Police Commanders into generating millions of naira monthly through illegal means for the project.
”It is on record that the parcel of land where the institution was sited was donated to the Police with the full complement of the Certificate of Occupancy by the Governor of Nasarawa State.
“The acquisition of the land was, therefore, without any financial commitment by the Police.
”The construction of the facility was achieved with the support of the Nasarawa State Government and well-meaning corporate bodies within the context of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
”All the support so extended were not in cash but in form of donation of materials,” he said.
Mba said that the only involvement of some Squadron Commanders was to ensure the delivery of some of the construction materials so donated by the corporate bodies.
He said the construction of the project through corporate intervention was a demonstration of the commitment of the Force leadership to meet its obligations to citizens.
According to him, this is not the first time corporate organisations and governments at all levels are assisting the police to bridge operational and infrastructural gaps.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
CAS task NAF cadets on core values of integrity, service before self
Abubakar gave the charge on Tuesday night during the regimental Dinner of Direct Short Service, Course 29, at the Military Training Centre NAF base Kaduna.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that regimental dinner was a military tradition worldwide aimed at inculcating one of the rich mess etiquette in officers in order to maintain regimentation and comradeship among other military ethics and tradition.
Abubakar reminded the cadets of vision of the NAF as they looked forward to passing out and begin your service to our fatherland as commissioned officers.
“To reposition the NAF into highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiative for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in responsive to Nigeria’s national security imperatives.
According to him, this is particularly important as the country, in recent time, has witnessed a wide range of security challenges that have stretched the capacity of the armed forces and other security agencies.
Abubakar said the armed forces, particularly NAF, had been involved in operation aimed at finding lasting solution to some of these security challenges.
He added that NAF has also been involved in community out-reach programmes to demonstrate a human approach to finding lasting solution to some of the security challenges.
“As you pass out from training to become commissioned officers, most of you will be assigned various duties in order to restore peace to our nation.
“Such duties will not only require professional competences, but also your ability to lead men in the field.
“Military profession is all about leadership and command, as young officers, you will realise that your men depend on you for inspiration.
“You are, therefore, to ensure that you show good example in both your personal qualities and abilities.
“This can only be achieved by ability to apply NAF core values of integrity, first excellence in all we do and service before self,’’ he said.
Abubakar charged the cadets to always ensure that equipment and resources that would be put at their disposal were maintained and judiciously utilised.
NAN report that the passing out parade of the cadets would be held on Aug. 8.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)