The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs Phoebe Yayi, who disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Kaduna on Sunday, said the that programme would commence on April 6.
Yayi said that the digital lessons programme would focus on Senior Secondary School Students preparing for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO) examinations.
She said that the programme was aimed at preventing students from being idle at home while on lockdown, which, she said, might affect their academic performances.
According to her, the programme is designed to keep the students busy with academic activities, which would be delivered through television and radio stations so that they could continue learning, while staying safe at home.
“This is part of the state government’s efforts in deploying digital platforms to improve teaching and learning in public schools.
“You are aware that senior secondary school students will write WAEC and NECO examinations as soon as the Coronavirus crisis is over.
“We are trying as much as we can to ensure that the lockdown does not affect their performances in the examinations,” she said.
The permanent secretary said that the programme would be aired on all major television and radio stations in the state, between 9:00 am. and 11:30 am., adding that it would cover all the subjects.
She said that the lessons would be 20 minutes per period and two times in a week, with the exception of Mathematics and English Language, which would be three times in a week.
She also said that the contacts, names and phone numbers of the teachers would be provided for the students to ask questions.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and
Man heads towards mosque before offering Eid al-Fitr prayers during COVID-19 lockdown in Kathmandu, Nepal
UK to reopen thousands of shops as eases coronavirus lockdown: Johnson
Britain will reopen thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres next month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.
Johnson also set out a timetable for businesses as part of moves to ease the coronavirus lockdown.
All other non-essential retail could reopen from June 15 if the government’s tests are met.
“There are careful but deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country,’’ Johnson said.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
UK PM’s top aide defends actions during COVID-19 lockdown
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser Dominic Cummings on Monday defended his actions during his first public appearance since a major row erupted over reports that he “broke” Britain’s COVID-19 lockdown rules.
During a press conference in the rose garden of the Downing Street, Cummings told reporters that he had behaved “reasonably”.
The row has dominated newspaper headlines in Britain since it was revealed on Friday that Cummings, together with his wife and their four-year-old son, drove 260 miles (about 418 km) from London to his parents’ home in northeast city of Durham.
A number of MPs from Johnson’s ruling Conservative party stepped up calls Monday for Cummings to resign or be fired as he “flouted the rules of staying at home” repeatedly stressed by the government at the time. Johnson has stood by Cummings, saying Cummings has acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity”.
During the press conference, Cummings explained that he made the car journey when his wife developed COVID-19 symptoms. He was worried that if he also became ill, which he subsequently did, there would be problems looking after their young son, so he headed to Durham to isolate there for 14 days close to his family members.
“I don’t think it would be reasonable to ask some friend to come and expose themselves to a deadly disease when a 17-year-old niece has offered to do it for me,” he said.
The lockdown rules have always allowed exceptions in certain circumstances, said Cummings.
“It says that in some circumstances you won’t be able to follow the rules and it seems to me that I was in such an exceptional circumstance and I was trying to balance all these very complicated things,” he said.
“I believe I made the right judgement,” said Cummings.
He said there was understandably public anger about the circumstance, but a lot of that anger was based on reports in the media that have not been true.
“I don’t regret what I did,” he said.
Top aide to British PM defends actions amid row over lockdown rules
London, May 25, 202 Dominic Cummings, a top adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, defended his decision to leave London amid lockdown travel restrictions, saying he acted “reasonably.”
“I did not ask the prime minister about the decision, he was ill himself and he had huge problems to deal with,” Cummings told reporters.
He and his wife were worried there was “nobody in London [they] could reasonably ask to look after [their] child and expose themselves to COVID-19.”
Calls have mounted for Cummings to resign over the decision, but Cummings said he had “not considered” that.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Online child sexual abuse in Philippines triple during COVID-19 lockdown
The Philippine justice department on Monday reported a steep upswing in online child sexual abuse cases while the country was under lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Citing data by a private organization National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Cybercrime said 279,166 child sexual abuse cases have been reported from March 1 to May 24 this year, compared to 76,561 cases over the same period in 2019.
The cases of internet-based sexual exploitation of children this year was an increase of 264 percent, the DOJ added.
“The aforesaid increase is attributable to the fact that during the enhanced community quarantine, strict home quarantine is observed in all households, and internet usage surges as people stay home,” the DOJ said in a statement.
The Philippines has been under lockdown since mid-March due to the rise of COVID-19 cases.
The DOJ blamed the increase in online sexual abuse on the failure of internet service providers (ISPs) or telecommunication companies to remove access to forms of online sexual exploitation of children.
Philippine Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete stressed the need for internet service providers to install available technology, program, or software to ensure that access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered.
Palestine declares end of lockdown in light of slowdown of COVID-19 pandemic
Palestine on Monday declared the end of lockdown and a set of new measures in dealing with the COVID-19.
“As we continue to control the spread of the virus, and in light of the workers’ tests, the Emergency Committee, the Council of Ministers, security services and governors have recommended new measures that were approved by the president,” said Palestine Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye.
Under the new measures, the ban on movement between cities will be lifted immediately, allowing public transportation to normally operate in terms of safety procedures.
Shops, commercial and industrial establishments, including cafes, restaurants, and health clubs as well as mosques and churches will be allowed to open starting from Tuesday morning.
Official bodies will return to work regularly starting Wednesday morning after the end of Eid al-Fitr holiday while observing safety requirements.
Indoor and outdoor halls for group events are being studied by the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.
Nevertheless, the one-month long state of emergency declared by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on May 5 is still in effect.
Palestinian Minister of Health Mai al-Kaila told Xinhua that the tests will continue to be conducted on a daily basis, especially amongst workers recently returning from Israel, who are required to commit to home-bound quarantine.
Precautionary measures are likely to change again in accordance with the results of the new tests in the coming two weeks, as the state of emergency is still on, she noted.
According to official data, nearly 30,000 workers have returned home for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, and a random sample check of 5,408 was conducted, showing no positive cases.
Currently, there are 32,300 cases in-home quarantine under the supervision of the Ministry of Health.
The number of cases registered in Palestine has reached 602, including 475 recovered and only five dead.
Some corps members serving in Ekiti to get certificate after lockdown – Coordinator
Some corps members serving in Ekiti will have to wait until the inter-state travel restriction is eased before they can get their Certificate of National Service (CNS), an official of the corps said.
The coordinator added that those that would be affected by the directive were corps members serving in the state, but had travelled out of the state.
He said the decision was taken because the affected corp members might not be able to attend the passing-out ceremony of 2019 Batch ‘B, Stream 1 slated for Thursday, May 28 because of the lockdown.
Okpongete was quoted as saying that the corps members would be issued their certificates without the usual fanfare due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the various 16 Local Government Areas of the state and discharged accordingly.
“The 2019 Batch ‘B, Stream 1 Passing-out ceremony will hold on Thursday, May 28 across the federation.
“Issuance of certificates in Ekiti will take place at corps members’ various Local Government Areas of service.
“Corps members presently not in the state will be issued their CNS whenever the ‘inter-state lockdown’ is eased,” the coordinator was quoted as saying.
The state coordinator, however, solicited the cooperation of all employers across Ekiti, urging them to issue ‘Letters of Release’ to corps members that served in their organisations.
Okpongete also solicited the cooperation of stakeholders such as the road transport unions to ensure the safety of corps members as many of them travelled from Ekiti to their various states of origin from May 30.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
South Africa to ease lockdown despite surge in COVID-19 cases
South Africa will ease the COVID-19 lockdown from level four to level three, beginning from June 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Sunday amid a surge in confirmed cases.
“Moving to alert level three marks a significant shift in our approach to the pandemic,” Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation.
Level three will allow the opening of the economy and the removal of a number of restrictions on the movement of people, while significantly expanding and intensifying the public health interventions, said Ramaphosa.
With up to 8 million people returning to work, the implementation of alert level three will involve the return to operation for most sectors of the economy, subject to observance of strict health protocols and social distancing rules, he said.
The opening of the economy and other activities means that more public servants will be called back to work, accompanied by the phased re-opening of schools, Ramaphosa said.
All gatherings will remain prohibited, except for funerals with no more than 50 people or meetings in the workplace for work purposes.
The national borders will remain closed except for the transport of goods and repatriation of nationals.
Ramaphosa said the decision was based on wide consultations with various stakeholders across the country and guided by advice from the World Health Organization and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The stakeholders “are all united in their insistence that our central goal must be to save lives and protect livelihoods,” Ramaphosa said.
South Africa enforced a level-five lockdown on March 27 and eased it to level four on May 1, allowing certain businesses to reopen and limited movement of people.
“While the nationwide lockdown has been effective, it cannot be sustained indefinitely,” he said.
Even as the country moves to alert level three, it is important that South Africans should be aware that there are a few parts of the country where the disease is concentrated and infections continue to rise, the president said.
He emphasized that the easing of some restrictions does not mean that the threat posed by the coronavirus has passed or that the fight against the disease is over.
In fact, the risk of a massive increase in infections is now greater than it has been since the start of the outbreak in the country, warned the president.
As of Sunday, South Africa has recorded 22,583 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up by 1,240 from Saturday, the highest daily surge since March 5 when the country reported its first case.
The national death toll stood at 429, with 22 reported in the past 24 hours.
Palestinians celebrate Eid al-Fitr under lockdown to prevent spread of COVID-19
Palestinians in the West Bank on Sunday celebrated the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr under a strict ban on movement to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.
The restrictions include full lockdown on all commercial shops, except for bakeries and pharmacies, according to the spokesperson of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior Ghassan Nimer.
On Friday night, Palestinian security forces were deployed at the entrances of the West Bank cities as the ban on movement came into effect and is expected to continue until Monday night.
According to official data, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Palestine has reached 602, while the number of the recovered climbed up to 475.
Migrant workers gather and wait to board buses during coronavirus lockdown in Bangalore, India
British PM’s advisor breached lockdown rules several times – Reports
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief adviser faced new reports in Sunday newspapers that he had apparently breached the country’s coronavirus travel restrictions more than once.
The Guardian and the Mirror initially reported Friday that Dominic Cummings had travelled some 430 kilometres from London to his parents’ home in County Durham at the end of March while he had coronavirus symptoms.
He was reportedly seen in Durham again on April 19, after he had already recovered and returned to work in London, the two newspapers reported in their Sunday editions.
An eyewitness cited by The Sunday Mirror and The Observer also said he saw Cummings at a well-known tourist spot some 50 kilometres from Durham on April 12.
If the reports are true, they indicate Cummings travelled from London to Durham more than once despite lockdown rules.
At the time, only essential travel was allowed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
A government spokeswoman said the reports that Cummings had returned to Durham a second time after coming back to Downing Street on April 14 and the initial reports from Friday were “inaccurate.”
She did not specify which parts of the Friday reports were inaccurate.
The British government had already admitted that Cummings travelled to Durham with his family.
The government would not waste its time “answering a stream of false allegations about Mr Cummings from campaigning newspapers,” the spokeswoman added.
Cummings himself had disputed that police contacted his family, but local police confirmed that they had visited the County Durham property after allegations that Cummings had travelled there amid the lockdown, according to Britain’s Press Association (PA) news agency.
As of Saturday, the prime minister was standing by his adviser, despite calls for Cummings to resign or be fired.
Some 52 per cent of Britons think Cummings should resign, while 28 per cent think he should not, a poll by YouGov published late Saturday showed.
The survey showed 68 per cent of respondents thought Cummings’ alleged actions broke lockdown rules.
The Scottish National Party and Labour tweeted that they had sent letters to Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill calling for an investigation into the alleged rule-breaking.
The Liberal Democrats also contacted Sedwill to call for a probe, PA reported.
Britain has seen other high-ranking officials resign in similar scenarios recently.
Top medical adviser to the Scottish government Catherine Calderwood stood down earlier after ignoring her own advice and travelling to a second home in a rural area of Scotland’s east coast.
Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, also resigned from his government advisory role after admitting he had breached the lockdown rules.
The British government has been the target of criticism for weeks.
The country’s death toll has surpassed 36,000, making Britain the nation with the highest number of fatalities in Europe.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Eid-El-Fitri: Police to enforce total lockdown in Kaduna state
The Police Command in Kaduna State says it has intensified security coverage and enforcement of total lockdown during the Eid-el- Fitr celebration in the state.
The command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige made the announcement in a statement issued on Saturday in Kaduna.
Jalige said that the command had drawn out elaborate operational strategies to ensure compliance of the total lockdown.
“This is in an order imposed by the state government to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and intensive security coverage to checkmate the activities of criminal elements during Eid period throughout the state.”
According to him the command has deployed both conventional and mobile policemen as well as undercover operatives to man and monitor key and vulnerable points with a view to ensure compliance with the lockdown and provide tight security across the state.
“The command once-again reassures the good people of Kaduna State of its readiness to promptly respond to distress calls and decisively deal with any person or group of persons who in any way attempts to violate the lockdown and social distancing orders during the festive period.
“The Command reiterates its call on the citizens of Kaduna State to promptly report any suspicious movement or object noticed in your area to the nearest security formation or call the following numbers: 07039675856, 0807591105.”
Jalige said that the Commissioner of Police, Umar Muri, urged the people of Kaduna state to adhere strictly to the preventive tips against COVID-19 while celebrating the Eid-el-Fitr.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
RTEAN chief warns transporters to obey govt.’s directives on lockdown
A unionist, Alhaji Mohammed Musa, on Saturday told members of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) to comply with government’s directives on the current lockdown to stay out of trouble
He said that members of the association had been briefed on the need to obey all directives put in place by both states and the Federal Government on the lockdown, including curfew and inter-state travels.
On April 27, the Federal Government announced a nationwide ban on interstate travels that took effect from May 4 and imposed a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. nationwide, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We are law-abiding citizens, there is nothing we can drag with the government than to obey.
“The lockdown is not forever. We pray that very soon things will come back to normal. We appeal to our members to obey and endure the hard times.”
Musa said that the Eid-el-Fitri celebration was usually a peak season for transportation business but that COVID-19 had affected the business adversely.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
One-third of S. African university students to return to campuses under lockdown level 3
A third of the South African universities students would return to the campuses when the country moves from lockdown level four to three, said Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande on Saturday.
“Under level 3, a maximum of 33 percent of the student population will be allowed to return to campuses, delivery sites and residences on condition that they can be safely accommodated and supported in line with the health and safety protocols as directed by the department,” said Nzimande.
Currently, final-year students in programs requiring clinical training, particularly in medicine, have been returning since mid-May. All other students have to study through digital and other means until they can return.
Nzimande said some of those who will return first include those graduating this year and final year students who require access to laboratories, technical equipment, data, connectivity and access to residence and private accommodation.
Once Level 3 is announced, students will be given a period of two to three weeks from the announcement date to return back to their campuses. Institutions will issue permits to identified students to allow for their travel.
Students will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at campus entrances.
Afghan gov’t urges citizens to respect lockdown during Eid-ul-Fitr days
With registering 782 new COVID-19 positive cases over the past 24 hours in Afghanistan, the number of patients infected with the disease has risen to 9,998 in the country, Tawhid Shakohmand, a spokesman for Public Health Ministry said Saturday.
Expressing concern over what he described “fast spread of coronavirus” in the country, the official called upon countrymen to respect the Public Health Ministry’s advice and stay at home during Eid-ul-Fitr holiday.
The spreading of the COVID-19 in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of eight persons over the past 24 hours, totaling the number of COVID-19 related deaths to 216 since the outbreak of the virus in February in Afghanistan, Shakohmand said.
According to the official, 44 patients have recovered over the past 24 hours, bringing the number of recovered ones to 1,040 in the country.
A deputy for Public Health Ministry has also called upon people to stay at home during Eid-ul-Fitr festival to stay safe, warning any ignorance to respect the lockdown would lead to catastrophe.
Kabul governor Mohammad Yaqub Haidari said that strict measures had been put in place during Eid-ul-Fitr days in Kabul to enforce the lockdown in the city.
Bakery workers make desserts to meet demands of citizens during lockdown in Sudan
A bakery worker prepares desserts to meet the demands of the citizens who failed to bake the Eid desserts during the lockdown to contain the coronavirus spread, in Khartoum, Sudan, May 22, 2020. (Photo by Mohamed Khidir/Xinhua)
Lockdown: Poultry farmers demand review of security at checkpoints
This, they said, would ensure smooth and effective implementation of directives on COVID-19 containment.
Mr Ezekiel Ibrahim, the President of the association, made the appeal while reacting to the restriction and detention of vehicles conveying eggs and day-old-chicks on Monday in Oyo State by junior security operatives leading to the death of chicks worth over N50 million.
Reacting to the development, Ibrahim told the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Abuja that the enormous loss was caused by an act of insubordination by junior security operatives to the command structure of government.
The president also alleged corrupt practices at the various boundaries in the federation.
He suggested for a mixed security arrangement to ensure effective policing at the check points.
Ibrahim recommended the reconstitution to compose of the Police, Civil Defence, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Military, DSS, representatives from the traditional institution, commodities, manufacturers association and civil societies.
He emphasised that a comprehensive membership of those manning the checkpoints would ensure check and balance as well minimise abuses and excesses of security operatives.
“Government have laid down rules and regulations explaining everything by exempting certain categories, more importantly all essential goods and services like poultry products can move unhindered.
“The directive is so clear but the junior security operatives who are to implement this directive geared toward COVID-19 containment accordingly, are violating the laid down rules and regulations or policy, they are becoming insubordinate to their command structure.
“Often times they restrict the movement of vehicles conveying day-old-chicks due to compromise.
“Therefore police should not be left alone at any checkpoint, there should be representatives from the traditional institution, Civil Defence, commodity association, civil societies and NOA.
“Traditional institution should be incorporated because anywhere in this country you have traditional institution, people respect them more because they are closer to the masses. So if these five groups of people are at the checkpoints, l believe it will minimis some of the abuses or corruption.
“We need to have check and balance; the representative from commodity or manufacturing association is for monitoring and evaluation to give the effectiveness to the smooth implementation of all these directives that government has given.
“I am appealing to both the federal and state governments to reconstitute those at the checkpoints and allow commodity or manufacturers association representatives be at the checkpoints to ensure smooth passage of essential goods and services,” he urged.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
In pics: empty road during lockdown in Kathmandu
A pedestrian is seen on an empty road during the lockdown in Kathmandu, Nepal on May 22, 2020. (Photo by Sulav Shrestha/Xinhua)
Ogun Govt extends lockdown by another week
Ogun Government has yet again extended the existing lockdown by another week.
Gov Dapo Abiodun made this known while briefing journalists on Friday in Abeokuta.
He maintained that the state was constrained to extend the lockdown for another week as it continued to record more cases of the Coronavirus.
According to the governor, it is a painful but necessary decision that has to be taken to maintain the balance between lives and livelihood.
“We cannot ignore the fact that we are having a sudden rise in the number of new cases. We all decried an increase of 30 per cent last week when I was giving the weekly update.
“This week’s increase of over 37 per cent is even more worrisome, particularly as we are still under an eased lockdown, and considering the demography and location of the confirmed cases, we can confirm that community transmission is on the increase in our state.
“I have to state that after all considerations, we are constrained to take the painful, but necessary decision to continue the eased lockdown of Ogun State for another one week till Sunday, May 31.
“As we have always maintained the delicate balance between lives and livelihood, we will continue to have our window of relaxation, from 7 am to 5 pm on Monday, 25th May; Wednesday, 27th May, and Friday, 29th May.
“We must also bear in mind that the daily curfew from 8 pm to 6 am and the ban on non-essential inter-state travel as directed by Mr President still stand,” he said.
Gov. Abiodun, however, said that the second phase, to begin from June 1, would be accompanied by a further ease of the lockdown and expansion of the windows of relaxation.
He said that the guidelines and details would be provided in due course.
The governor felicitated with the Muslim faithful on the successful completion of the Ramadan fasting, but cautioned them against any form of gathering.
He enjoined them to comply with directives of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and offer their Eid prayers at home.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
Lecturer advises undergraduates to keep learning during lockdown
Dr Theo Adebowale, a Political Science lecturer, on Friday urged students not to relax, but keep seeking knowledge, as the COVID-19 lockdown continues to keep them out of school.
Adebowale, who lectures at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, told the News Agency of Nigeria that this was important as undergraduates were sent home at the verge of examinations.
“The lockdown arising from coronavirus pandemic came so suddenly that everyone was caught unawares and the social gathering prohibition worsened the matter, compelling closure of schools and students being sent home compulsorily.
“While they are still observing the stay-at-home order, they should maximise the period to read and study more, rather than playing away at the detriment of their academics.
“The commitment they bring to bear now will keep them academically active and go a long way to prepare them for better performance when the institutions reopen,” Adebowale said.
He said that students should take skill acquisition opportunities on the social media and key-in to sources to learn, as a way to add value to their lives.
According to him, those who already have skills can equally exhibit them through the social media as part of measures of making the best use of the ongoing lockdown.
“Given that they are at home now, bubbling with much energy, it is wise and reasonable they put their time to good use of the social media.
“Some can even learn their parents’ business or career and those that have land can do some gardening in an agrarian community, as farming is recommended to motivate youths,” he said.
Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)