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Lockdown: Board, ASUU donate food, other items to the needy in Bayelsa



The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Seven Up Bottling Company and ASUU, Port Harcourt zone, have donated food items, drinks and sanitiser to the vulnerable in Bayelsa.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items were donated on Tuesday in Yenagoa, to the Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force led by Gov. Douye Diri, for onward distribution to the people.

The board donated 70 kegs of 20-litre vegetable oil, 350 bags of rice, 175 carton of tomatoe paste, 35 kegs of 20-litre red oil, 70 bags of beans and 35 bags of garri.

Other items included 35 packets of Maggi seasoning, 70 small bags of salt and 35 bags of sugar, amongst others.

Presenting the items, Mr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, NCDMB, said that the donation was to cushion the effect of the lockdown in the state on the people, especially the vulnerable.

Wabote, represented by Dr Patrick Obah, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, NCDMB, noted that the board had earlier donated two ambulances and medical supplies to the state government.

The executive secretary said that COVID-19 pandemic had presented a challenge to humanity and called for collaboration among stakeholders to tackle the menace.

“The time we are in calls for a show of solidarity with the people of the state.

“The Management of NCDMB has decided to support the Government of Bayelsa in two key areas; one is to strengthen the capacity of the health sector to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“The second is to assist the people, especially those that survive on daily pay, who have been directed to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It is not easy to ask people to stay at home without making provisions, and at a time like this we have to show solidarity with the Bayelsa government and the people,” he said.

In the same vein, Seven Up Bottling Company has donated a truckload of table water and soft drinks to the state government for distribution to the vulnerable.

Also, the Port Harcourt zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has donated 500 bottles of 100 ml of hand sanitiser as well as posters to assist the government in the fight against COVID-19.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Ejike Obeta (NAN)


COVID-19 lockdown: Lagos court sentences 730 violators to community service



No fewer than 730 persons were sentenced to community service by Lagos State Magistrates’ Court for COVID-19 lockdown offences, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The Director of Community Service, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Ms Shakirat Karimu-Ikotun disclosed this to NAN in her office on Monday.

She spoke after receiving some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the British Council Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme.

Items presented by RoLAC include hand gloves, hand sanitisers, reusable face masks, hoes, brooms, cutlasses, rakes, wheelbarrows, printer inks and A4 papers, while the project was funded by the European Union.

Karimu-Ikotun said that many people were arrested for COVID-19 lockdown offences, saying that only few magistrates were available to handle their cases.

She said that all the offenders who pleaded guilty were given a non-custodian sentencing and were allowed to come from their various homes to carry out their community service for one or two weeks, depending on their offences.

“At least, we have supervised 730 offenders between April and May 15 over COVID-19 offences. We have many offenders but few courts were working to handle their cases.

“The community services carried out by offenders included public toilet washing, street sweeping, cutting of grass, clearing drainages, cleaning old peoples’ home,” she said.

Karimu-Ikotun appreciated RoLAC for the items donated to the unit, saying that the equipment would go a long way in protecting those on community service while carrying out the duties.

She appealed to the magistrates to always sentence minor offenders to community service, saying that this would reduce the number of inmates in various correctional centres, especially, those awaiting trials.

The Programme Officer of RoLAC in Lagos, Mrs Ajibola Ajimakinwa, while presenting the items said that the aim of the intervention was to ensure a sustained service delivery during COVID-19 breakout.

Ajimakinwa said the donation would also strengthen the capacity of the Community Sentencing Unit to supervise community offenders.

“The current prevalence of COVID-19 has led to increase in the number of offenders sentenced to do community service. The COVID-19 outbreak and consequential lockdown restriction have made it necessary to support the unit.

“Courts in Lagos are now routinely resorting to non-custodian measures, which increases the demand for equipment for doing community service,” Ajimakinwa said.

Some PPE items were also presented by RoLAC to the Lagos State Police Command Family Support and Gender Units.

The programme officer said they were supporting the units due to their involvement in handling sexual and domestic violence, which she claimed had increased since the pandemic lockdown started.

“The current prevalence of COVID-19 has led to increase in cases of sexual and domestic violence and service providers such as Gender and SFUs should be supported to ensure they carry out their services without any hindrance,” she said.

CSP Omomobi Olutoyin, the Head of Gender Unit at the Lagos State Police Command, who received the items on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, appreciated RoLAC for the donation.

She said that the organisation had donated other items to the command in time past, saying that the items donated would go a long way in protecting the police personnel in the course of their duties.

Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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SH edits -FG extends gradual easing of lockdown by 2 weeks



The Federal Government has extended the gradual easing of the COVID-19 lockdown across the country by two additional weeks.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, who also doubles as the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF).

He made the disclosure during the COVID-19 daily briefing on Monday in Abuja.

The SGF said that the global epicenter of the pandemic has shifted from China to Europe to the United States and was now showing a shift to South and Central America.

“This shift to South America with virtually similar climatic and demographic similarities with Africa, is a cause for concern when we consider the fact that earlier projections pointed to Africa as likely to be the worst hit continent, by the pandemic.

“As at midnight on Sunday, May 31, 2020, Nigeria recorded 10,162 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 3,007 discharges and 287 deaths. Significantly, Nigeria recorded 553 new cases on Saturday, May 30, 2020 representing the highest single-day numbers, ever,” he said.

According to him, Based on the overall assessment, including available data on the public health considerations and resultant economic impacts, the PTF is of the opinion that.

“Nigeria is ready to allow SCIENCE and DATA determine her cautious advancement into the second phase of the eased lockdown for a period of four weeks.

“After considering all factors mentioned above, the PTF submitted its recommendations and President  Mohammadu Buhari has approved the following for implementation over the next four weeks spanning June 2nd – 29th 2020, subject to review,” he noted.

Mustapha gave cautious advance into the Second Phase of the national response to COVID-19; Application of science and data to guide the targeting of areas of on-going high transmission of COVID-19 in the country.

“This means mobilization of all resources at State and Local Government levels to create public awareness on COVID 19 and improve compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions within communities.

“ Sustenance of key non-pharmaceutical interventions that would apply nationwide and include:

“Ban of gatherings of more than 20 people outside of a workplace.

“Relaxation of restriction on places of Worship based on guidelines issued by the PTF and Protocols agreed by State Governments

“Managed access to markets and locations of economic activity to limit the risk of transmission. Ban on inter-state travels except for movement of agricultural produce, petroleum products, manufactured goods & essential services;

“Mandatory use of non-medical face masks in public places;  Mandatory provision of handwashing facilities/sanitisers in all public places.

“Extensive temperature checks in public places; Maintaining 2 metres between people in public places;  Strengthening infection prevention and control at healthcare facilities.

“Isolation of vulnerable populations “elderly and those with underlying health conditions”Massive information and education campaigns.

“Deepening of collaborative efforts with community leaders, civil society, faith-based organisations, traditional institutions, etc;

“Continuous mobilisation of State Govts to take up greater role in the implementation of the guidelines and advisories provided by the PTF.

“Deepening of collaborative efforts with community leaders, civil society, faith-based organisations, traditional institutions, etc;

“Continuous mobilisation of State government to take up greater role in the implementation of the guidelines and advisories provided by the PTF,”he stated.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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COVID-19: Bello orders lockdown of Kabba-Bunu LGA over index case



Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has ordered immediate and total lockdown of Kabba-Bunu Local Government Area for two weeks following a suspected case of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the area.

Bello, who gave the order on Monday while briefing newsmen in Government House, Lokoja, said the lockdown, which was to commence from 12.00am on Tuesday, would enable verification and authenticity of the claims.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that claims by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that Sheikh Abubakar Ejibunu, the Chief Iman of Kabba, had tested positive to the disease has continued to generate controversy between the Kogi government and the NCDC.

According to the governor, the government decided to be proactive over the verification as members of the the family of the acclaimed victim, Sheikh Ejibunu, along with 13 other persons in Kabba-Bunu Local Government have already been tested for COVID-19 and their results returned negative.

He said, “We shall not relent in verifying the genuineness of the NCDC claim and we remain resolute in pursuing the matter to a logical conclusion.

“Government has already put necessary machineries in place to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic as prevention they say, is better than cure.”

Bello also directed the Incident Management Team of COVID-19 in the state, headed by the commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Haruna Audu, to embark on immediate door-to-door visitation of residents of the council area for collation of samples for test.

The governor also ordered a 14-day isolation of medical personnel and other persons at the Federal Medical Center, Lokoja, who accompanied the accident victims to Abuja.

He further directed security agencies in the state to ensure complete enforcement of the lockdown in Kabba-Bunu Local Government Area and ensure adherence to all the federal government and NCDC protocols.

The governor condemned in its entirety failure of the NCDC to involve Kogi State government in its investigation processes before announcing two index cases of COVID-19 in the state, describing the action as “unhealthy and unprofessional.’’

“However, we still maintain that Kogi remains COVID-19 free at the moment, urging citizens of the state to continue to observe all the NCDC protocols in curtailing the spread of the dreaded disease,” Bello said.

Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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S.Africa tourism sector welcomes opening up of domestic market from lockdown




While the recovery of the tourism sector in South Africa might take a while to happen, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) said the opening up of the domestic sector was welcomed.

“It’s good news that there will be some economic activities in our sector, initially tourism was supposed to be coming back on level 2 or 1,” TBCSA chief executive officer Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa told Xinhua on Monday.

The tourism department said under lockdown level three which started on June 1, tourist guides, tour operators, travel agents, tourism information officers are allowed to come back to operations. Game farms would also operate for self-drive excursions and hiking. Domestic flights for business travel are also open.

When lockdown measures were imposed in March, it was anticipated that the local tourism would only return in September.

Tshivhengwa said the industry was negatively impacted by the pandemic.

“We are concerned because being opened doesn’t mean that there will be a demand. COVID-19 left the industry on its knees because there was no income. There is still some uncertainty as to when the international inbound will return,” he said.

Tshivhengwa said that they were hoping for domestic tourism to fully recover.

“We are anticipating tough times ahead, we don’t know when there will be recovery. Everyone wants to recover soon but it will depend on the spread of the virus.”

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane also agreed the sector had been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.

The past two months of lockdown have been difficult for the tourism sector which was anticipating the loss of thousands of jobs.

“We continued to see many businesses in the sector fighting for survival and our projections showed that almost 600,000 jobs were at risk if the sector doesn’t come into operation by September 2020,” she said.


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France to further unwind anti-coronavirus lockdown




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French automakers’ sales halve in May due to coronavirus lockdown




Sales of French car manufacturers halved in May due to the coronavirus lockdown, official data showed on Monday.

In May, new car sales declined by 50.34 percent to 96,310 units, compared with the same period in 2019, the Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers (CCFA) said in a monthly report.

Sales of French brands tumbled by 53.62 percent during the period. The country’s leading auto maker PSA, which makes the Peugeot and Citroen brands, offered 28,552 units, down by 56.07 percent compared to last year’s performance.

Renault reported the same negative trend. It saw sales declining by 50.39 percent, with that of low-cost brand of Dacia reporting a 51.15-percent loss.

Meanwhile, sales of foreign car brands suffered a 45.63 percent drop, the CCFA figures showed.

France entered a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of novel coronavirus on March 17. Under the confinement, all non-essential businesses have been closed, triggering the country’s worst post-war economic crisis and forcing companies to ask the state’s help to avoid massive lay-offs and bankruptcy.

On May 26, French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled an eight-billion-euro (8.89-billion-United States dollar) rescue plan to help the recovery of the domestic auto industry. (1 euro = 1.11 United States dollars)


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COVID-19 lockdown restrictions eased in Manila, the Philippines




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Spain receives no foreign tourists in April over COVID-19 lockdown: report




Spain did not receive any foreign tourists or any income from tourism in April due to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, according to data from the Spanish Statistical Office (INE) on Monday.

In a monthly report, the INE said this follows a drop of 64 percent in the number of international tourist arrivals in March, as the country closed to foreign visitors from March 15.

Meanwhile, the fact that travel restrictions remained in place throughout May means that the month that has just finished will also end with zero tourists from abroad and zero income from the sector.

By contrast, Spain welcomed 7.2 million tourists from abroad in April 2019, with each tourist spending an average of 990 euros (1,100 United States dollars) to generate a total income of 7,095 million euros during the month.

Spain welcomed around 84 million foreign tourists in 2019, with the sector creating around 12 percent of the country’s GDP.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said a week ago that Spain will end its quarantine restrictions to allow foreign tourists to return to the country in July. (1 euro = 1.11 United States dollars)


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Britain reopens markets and some schools as lockdown eases



English schools reopen for the first time since they were shut 10 weeks ago because of the coronavirus pandemic, a media report said on Monday .

However, many parents planned to keep children at home amid fears ministers were moving too fast.

The easing of strict measures will mean classes will restart for some younger children, up to six people can meet outside in England and outdoor markets can reopen.

Elite competitive sport can resume without spectators and over 2 million of the most vulnerable will now be allowed to spend time outdoors.

In view of the fact that Britain recorded one of the highest death rates from COVID-19, many are worried that it is happening too soon.

The Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) warned the government that it could lead to a second spike in infections.

Business Minister Alok Sharma told BBC TV that the overall view from SAGE their overall view is that we must do this cautiously and that is precisely what we are doing.

“These are very cautious steps that we are taking,” he said, while adding it was a “very sensitive moment”.

Ministers have been wrestling with how to kick-start the economy, which has been devastated by the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, while avoiding a possible second wave of infections which would cause further damage.

According to BBC TV, the government says the relaxation of rules on Monday represents only a limited easing but there has been concern that the country is still not ready for the changes.

It noted that more people were beginning to ignore guidelines on social distancing.

A survey for the National Foundation for Educational Research found school leaders estimated 46 per cent of parents would keep their children at home because of concerns, fears echoed by some health officials.

Britain has recorded over 38,000 deaths from confirmed COVID-19 cases while the Office of National Statistics and other sources of data put the figure of fatalities from suspected and confirmed cases at 48,000.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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