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Lockdown ease: Labour/CSO COVID-19 Situation Room commends Plateau Govt.

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The Labour/CSO Situation Room in Plateau on Sunday commended the State Government for putting measures in place to ease the lockdown it had imposed to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The situation room made the commendation in a statement signed by Steve Aluko and Paul Jatau and made available to News Agency of Nigeria in Jos.

The group welcomed the enforcement of the safety protocols against the disease by the government and urged it to sustain the measure in order to protect the people against the virus.

“We welcome and acknowledge the closure of some institutions that failed to adhere to the safety protocols and call on government to do even more to bring defaulters to book.

“More punishment should be meted out to those who refuse to observe and obey the safety protocols to deter others from doing same,” it said. 

The situation room said that it would continue to encourage the efforts of the State Ministry of information and Culture in deploying its enlightenment vans to strategic locations to educate the people to protect themselves against the disease.

 

It also commended some institutions who put measures in place and were able to detect and consequently fumigate their premises while testing their staff to curb the spread of the pandemic.

 

“We encourage government, religious and other corporate institutions to put in place effective mechanisms in place to check, test and arrest further spread of the virus,” it said.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

Oyekan Zainab: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Health

NCDC Protocol Compliance not lockdown, best solution to Coronavirus, says medical expert

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A medical expert, Dr Akintunde Ogunfeyimi says that full compliance with preventive measures and not total lockdown of the economy is the solution to reducing cases of coronavirus in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Presidential Task Force Committee on COVID-19 last week indicated that another lockdown of the economy might be possible if the increasing figures persisted further.

Ogunfeyimi told NAN in Okitipupa on Tuesday that the increasing cases of the virus was because of the lawlessness of Nigerians against preventive measures put in place by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The expert, who is the Chief Medical Director, Ondo State Specialist Hospital, Okitipupa, said that government needed to step up strict enforcement of face masks usage and other measures put in place by NCDC to curb the menance.

“Imagine, people going around without using their face masks, no social distancing, neglecting the regular washing of hands with soaps and water and not applying alcohol based sanitisers among other measures.

“I think the government should step up enforcement by agencies and arrest people who are violating all the precautionary measures.

“This is because we cannot lock down forever, although it may correct some anomalies but it is not the solution,” Ogunfeyimi said.

He said that some medical experts had put heads together for research and discovered some drugs which could be lasting solution to curb the virus adding that most of the drugs were at trial stages.

Ogunfeyinmi urged Nigerians to abide by all the NCDC preventive regulations for their own health, in order to reduce the increasing cases and to avoid another total lockdown of the economy.

Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Coronavirus: Osun govt. eases lockdown in 4 LGAs

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The Osun government has approved easing of lockdown imposed on four local government areas in the state to contain the spread of coronavirus.

A statement by Mr Wole Oyebamiji, the Secretary to the State Government in Osogbo on Monday, said the ease would take effect from Monday midnight.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state government had on July 7 announced a total lockdown in four local governments in the state to contain the spread of the virus.

The affected local governments were Ilesha East, Ilesha West, Atakumosa East and Atakumosa West.

Oyebamiji, said assurance received from traditional and religious leaders as well as civil society in the affected local government areas necessitated the ease of the lockdown.

He said though the lockdown had been eased, physical meetings and mass gatherings in any form remain banned in that axis and indeed throughout the state till further notice.

“Notwithstanding the ease of the lockdown, enforcement of safety protocols, especially the use of nose mask in public places must be continued in the axis, and non-adherents will be sanctioned.

“The state government wishes to reiterate that any form of breakdown in adherence to the safety protocols against COVID-19 in the four local government areas shall force the government to impose the lockdown again,” he said.

Oyebamiji said government would continue to do everything necessary to protect the lives and properties of citizens.

Edited By: Benson Iziama/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Judiciary

Lockdown: 2 docked over alleged assault on policemen

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Two persons, who allegedly flouted the lockdown order in Ilesa, Osun, and assaulted two policemen, were on Monday brought before an Osogbo Magistrates’ Court.

The defendants, Babatunde Tosin and Saliu Rufiat, however, pleaded not guilty to a five-count charge preferred against them.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Moses Adebayo, told the court that the defendants committed the offences on July 11 at about 7:30p.m, along Nigerian Breweries Road, Ilesa in Osun.

Adebayo said the defendants conspired with one other person still at large, and assaulted Sgt. Akinro Dayo and Olatiran Olaosebikan, while performing their lawful duties.

He said the defendants flouted the state government directives on COVID-19 lockdown when they were stopped, and thereafter, assaulted the officers.

The prosecutor said that the defendants inflicted injuries on the police officers.

According to him, the situation led to the gathering of a large crowd before the intervention of the response team.

The prosecutor said the offences contravened Sections 516, 355, 356, 249 (d) and 61 of the Criminal Code, Cap 34 Vol. 11, Laws of Osun, 2002.

The counsel for the defendants, Mr K. A Adepoju, urged the court to grant his clients bail in most liberal terms.

The Magistrate, Mrs Mary Awodele, however, granted the defendants bail of N100,000 with two sureties each in like sum.

Awodele said the sureties must reside within the court jurisdictions, with evidence of tax payments and passport-sized photographs attached with an affidavit of means.

The case was adjourned until July 20 for mentioned.( NAN)

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Foreign

Israeli minister calls for return to lockdown

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An Israeli Minister close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called for a renewed lockdown to prevent coronavirus infections from spiralling out of control.

“I believe that we must go to a lockdown now,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview aired on Ynet, the online version of Israel’s biggest-selling Yedioth Ahronoth daily on Monday.

“A lockdown of between 10 and 20 days.

“A lockdown that breathes you go to work, the supermarket or the pharmacy, but not to places of entertainment.

“Why? First of all, we’ll probably get there. So better early than late,’’ he argued.

Steinitz added that the current suspension of flights to and from Israel over coronavirus concerns would be far more damaging to the country’s economy than temporarily closing local businesses such as bars.

“A lockdown of around 14 days could cut the number of new infections to several dozen a day,’’ he said.

Although its total death toll, at 362 is relatively low, the number of new infections in Israel has begun spiralling out of control.

On Sunday, Israel saw 1,151 new cases in one day, after hitting a record with 1,464 daily cases on Friday.

He said that there were 18,300 confirmed active cases of coronavirus, of whom 151 were defined as being in serious condition, while 47 were on respirators.

Netanyahu, initially praised for his decisive action early on in the pandemic, has faced growing criticism and anger.

In the largest demonstration yet against his handling of the crisis, tens of thousands protested in Tel Aviv late on Saturday.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)

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Science & Technology

Lockdown: Stakeholders urge government to set up structures to improve ICT in education

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Stakeholders in the educational sector have called on the government to set up structures that would help improve Information Communication and Technology (ICT), in education during the lockdown and post COVID-19 era.

The call was made during the third-part of the webinar series of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS),  titled: “Re-opening: Insight Series for NAPPS FCT Schools”.

The virtual training and workshop series scheduled to hold throughout July is aimed at empowering its members on schools re-opening strategies in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the panelists, Dr Akin Fapohunda, an educationist, urged the government to adopt a laptop-per-child policy as a practical response to the ongoing lockdown of schools.

“ Government should look at approaches that would improve the public and private educational sector especially during periods like this,’’ he said.

He also called on the government to embark on the establishment of a laptop manufacturing plant and a solar panel project.

“ The establishment of a laptop manufacturing plant and a local assembly of solar panels are to cater to the IT and electricity needs of students and teachers.

“ Government should also direct agencies to provide free bandwidth for school children all over the country,’’ he said.

Fapohunda also called on the government to rethink its decision on the cancellation of the West African School Certificate Examinations for year 2020.

He said the exams could be rescheduled for the month of September or October, in a special arrangement, in adherence to COVID-19 safety measures.

He added that it was very important for the government to bridge the gap by carrying private school owners along in its decisions and policy making plans.

“ in the FCT, we have about 104 federal government schools, while we have over 30,000 private schools. So, it is only good that the government invites private school owners as part of its decision making body,’’ he said.

A behavioural change expert, Sam Obafemi, urged school owners to adopt alternative approaches to home schooling for the lockdown.

He advised participants on how to improve on logistics with school children in mind which could help in increased revenue.

According to him, the government ought to be crisis ready at all times as crisis is a seasonal phenomenon that affects all areas of life.

He said schools should look at developing apps that could help them cope with unforeseen crisis and make it withstand being short term expensive and long term affordable.

In her remarks, Mrs Samira Jibir, the Proprietor of Glisten International School, Jahi, Abuja, advised schools to be disruptive with their method of teaching due to the pandemic.

Jibir said gone were the days when there was a particular way of doing things in the educational sector.

She urged all school owners to adopt a personal approach of blended learning that would benefit their learning spaces as they battled with the uncertainties ahead.

The president of NAPPS FCT chapter, Mrs Olusola Bankole, said it was very important for the government to encourage teachers to subscribe to online classes.

She reiterated that the association had embarked on corporate social responsibilities to schools in and around the FCT.

She said the association had also provided handwashing stations and infrared thermometers at subsidised rates to its members.

She disclosed that about 100 teachers and principals from public schools were part of the ongoing training.

Bankole also urged private school owners to reach out to public schools around them to see how they could be of help to them after the lockdown.

NAN reports that no fewer than 300 teachers and proprietors from FCT and neighboring states were trained on modalities to adopt for schools reopening after the lockdown.

Almost 100 teachers and principals from government owned schools and institutions were part of the training.

Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Foreign

French PM says any new coronavirus lockdown would be targeted

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New French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Wednesday said any new lockdown will be targeted, and not imposed nationwide, if there is a major new COVID-19  outbreak.

The previous French government enforced a strict nationwide lockdown from mid-March to May 11 to try to curb the spread of COVID-19, and some restrictions on public gatherings are still in place.

“We must be ready for a second wave, but we would not proceed to a general lockdown like in March, as that has terrible economic and human consequences.

“Any new lockdown would be targeted,” Castex told BFM television.

Castex, who was a civil servant and used to be an adviser to former President Nicolas Sarkozy, was appointed prime minister on Friday.

He has put together a new team for the remaining two years of centrist President Emmanuel Macron’s mandate.

Castex appointed some ministers on Monday and said that he would complete the formation of his government with the nomination of junior ministers coming week.

He also said that talks with unions and employers about Macron’s wide-ranging pension reforms, which were halted during the lockdown, would resume before July 20.

He, however, said the delay was not necessarily a bad thing.

“Sometimes, when you lose two or three months, that is actually time won, we need to reopen the dialogue,” he said.

Castex confirmed his government would commit 7.5 billion Euros to raise the wages of hospital workers but said he would resist union calls to boost that to 9 billion.

According to the new French Prime Minister, the state finances are under stress because of the coronavirus crisis.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Gov. Oyetola orders lockdown in 4 Osun LGAs

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Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun has ordered total lockdown in four local government areas in the state to contain the spread of coronavirus in the areas.

Oyetola, in a statement by Mrs Funke Egbemode, Commissioner For Information and Civic Orientation, in Osogbo on Saturday, said the affected local governnents were Ilesa East, Ilesa West, Atakumosa East and Atakumosa West.

The governor, who noted that the lockdown would be for seven days in the first instance effective from July 7, said the decision was the fallout of the meeting between the government and the stakeholders from the areas.

He said that the decision to impose the total lockdown in the areas was aimed at containing the spread of the virus in that axis of the state.

According to him, government has every reason to believe that the state is already witnessing what looked like community transmission in the area and as such there is need to come up with measures to arrest the trend.

The governor said during the lockdown, there would be no vehicular movement within the affected areas.

He said only those on essential duties such as health, fire service, environmental officials, security personnel, power and water supply agencies, media and telecommunication officers would be allowed to move around.

The governor also said that residents in the affected areas would not have opportunity to go to worship centres and markets during the period but would be allowed to shop within their neighbourhood.

Oyetola urged residents of the affected areas to take advantage of the hours between Saturday(today) and Monday to stock up provisions that would last them one week in the first instance.

He added that intra-state travel to and fro would not be allowed during the lockdown, warning that violators of the lockdown order will be severely dealt with.

Oyetola said government was also closely monitoring other local government areas with rising confirmed cases of the virus, adding that more areas might also be on the lockdown in the coming days.

The governor, however, said that the relaxation in other areas of the state had been extended by two weeks.

“For the avoidance of doubt, our curfew will still run from 9p.m. to 5a.m. daily in other parts of the state, except the locked down local governments.

“In furtherance to the above, for the other parts of the state, the ban on political, public, religious, and any kind of gatherings under whatever guise remain in force.

“While worship centres must adhere strictly to government guidelines guiding their re-opening.

” Government will not hesitate to shut down any of the worship centres that violates our guidelines,” the governor said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state has 151 confirmed cases out of which 59 treated and discharged and five deaths recorded.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Economy

Aba markets resume normal businesses as govt eases lockdown

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Ariaria International market and others big markets in Aba, Abia, on Friday resumed business operations that would see the traders do business for five days in a week.

The resumption started on Friday following Abia government’s announcement on Thursday that the markets would now open from 7 am until 5 pm Mondays through Fridays.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that since Abia announced initial lockdown directives to check Coronavirus spread on March 24, the markets had been opening only for skeletal services from 9am to 3 pm thrice weekly.

Our Correspondent who visited the major markets in Aba: Ariaria Eziukwu Ahia Ohuru (New Market)and Eke-Oha markets, reports that the traders expressed happiness with the development.

Mr Alex Ogbonnaya, a dealer in clothing produced at Ariaria said the move would alleviate the problem of spending beyond the traders’ income.

He said that trading only thrice a week did not bring enough income to solve their problems and meet their family needs.

He thanked Abia government for the lockdown relaxation in the markets and promised to ensure he did everything that would keep him and others safe in order to sustain the lockdown relaxation.

“We promise to do everything we can to stay safe from Coronavirus because prevention is better than cure and life is more precious than wealth.

Mrs Ogechi Nneji, a dealer in pots and plastics at Ahia Ohuru said that the lockdown rules affected her and her family adversely as their income could not feed them as it was before the lockdown.

“We thank God for this effort by the government to extend the relaxation of lockdown orders in the markets to five times a week and hope that with time it would include Saturdays too.

“I am calling on Abia people to do everything government has asked us to be doing.

“It is to ensure our safety and for government to completely relax the lockdown to enable us to trade as usual and live normal lives,” she said.

Traders who spoke to NAN at Eziukwu and Eke-Oha markets thanked government for relaxing the lockdown in the markets and urged that complete relaxation of lockdown be done in few days.

Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19 Spike: NUJ urges 14 days lockdown in Ondo

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The Ondo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has urged the Ondo State government to enforce lockdown for seven or 14 days to curtail further spread of Coronavirus in the state.

The union made the call in a statement signed by the Chairman, Mr Adetona Aderoboye, and the General Secretary, Mr Leke Adegbite, on Friday in Akure.

The union expressed concern over the unprecedented spike of confirmed cases of the deadly virus in the state in the last three weeks.

It appealed to striking doctors and the state government to as a matter of urgency reach a compromise on disputed matters to facilitate effective treatment of Covid-19 patients.

It called for proper enforcement of the 7pm to 7am curfew as well as penalties for violation of precautionary measures at all markets, hotels and relaxation centres in the state.

“The union also observes that in spite of the state government’s commendable distribution of nose masks to reasonable number of people in the state, the compulsory use of same was unfortunately not enforced at public places.

“The Union, therefore, calls on the state government to consider the option of declaring a Seven-day or 14-day lockdown to urgently stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic at a disturbing rate.

“This measure will enable the government to carry out effective contacts tracing and deploy more combative efforts both from the state and federal governments,” the statement read in parts.

The union condoled with the state government and the families of the late commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, who died on Thursday due to suspected complications from Covid-19.

It prayed for quick recovery of Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the state, who tested positive to Covid-19 on Monday.

Edited By: Joseph Edeh/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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