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Lockdown: Kano mobile court prosecutes 45 drivers




Kano, April 21, 2020 Kano State Judiciary says it has prosecuted more than 45 drivers, whose vehicles were intercepted for violating the ban on inter-states movement.

Mr Baba Jibo, Public Relations Officer of the state Judiciary disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Kano.

Jibo said that 30 of the defaulters were arrested at Kwanan Dangora on Kano – Zaria road, trying to enter Kano from Kaduna.

He said that during the operation, 10 other vehicles were intercepted while coming from Jigawa and the remaining five from other places.

He further explained that over 10 tricycles were also intercepted and the riders prosecuted for violating the lockdown order.

“The Kano Mobile Court, working with the law enforcement agents, arrested 45 drivers who disregarded the lockdown order and ban on inter-states movement on Thursday.

“Under the Chairmanship of Salisuf Sallama, the court fines all the lawbreakers accordingly to the gravity of their offences,’’ Jibo said.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)


Lockdown: Market leaders urge LASG to allow daily operations



Some foodstuff traders at Agboju Market, Festac Town in Lagos on Thursday called on the state government to further ease the lockdown to allow daily markets in the state.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria, in separate interviews in Lagos that they were incurring losses opening markets on alternate days.

The Market Leader, Mrs Osinatu Adebayo, said government’s directive to alternate market days in the state to curtail the spread of Coronavirus pandemic came with some challenges, particularly for the foodstuff traders.

“We know the government bears us in mind when taking decisions and because of that, we have been obeying the directives.

“We wash our hands, we use face masks and we only operate the market as directed.

“The people, who sell foods like fish, meat, tomatoes, pepper and vegetables are really suffering; when they have leftovers, it goes bad before the next market day,” she said.

Adebayo urged the LASG to consider allowing the market operate daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Also, Mrs Rebecca Udeh, a trader, said it has been quite challenging for those of them who sell perishable foods, particularly on wet days, when sales are low.

Udeh, who is also a member of the market task force said: “These three days don’t work for us; if we don’t finish selling today, by next tomorrow, they’ve spoilt.

“We’ve been observing the state’s directives of wearing face masks, washing hands and trying to maintain social distancing; we even have a drum outside for water and soap.

The LASG can give more restrictions, we’ll obey them, but they should please allow us sell daily.”

She commended the Nigeria Police and members of the Man-O-War, who collaborate with the market task force to enforce the directives.

Udeh further commended the residents of Festac Town for complying with the use of face masks when shopping at the market.

Another trader, Mrs Sikiratu Ajao, urged the LASG to further ease the directives on markets.

According to her, some of the traders are the breadwinners of the families and depend on daily sales to meet their responsibilities.

“Anything they want us to do, we will do but let them adjust it a little more by allowing us to sell daily,” she said.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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Normal life in Tunisia resuming after lifting of COVID-19 lockdown




The third phase of the national strategy for partially lifting the coronavirus lockdown in Tunisia was started on Thursday.

In Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the main avenue in the capital Tunis, life is gradually coming back to normal and the street was crowded with masked people.

All shops, restaurants, hotels, public administrations and worship places reopened their doors.

Under the government’s decision, party halls also reopened with 50 percent capacity for the enclosed spaces, and the open spaces can operate at full capacity with hygiene measures.

According to the Tunisian minister in charge of major national projects Lobna Jribi, travel between all Tunisian governorates resumed without authorization.

As for Tunisian nationals abroad, “they will be repatriated from June 4 to June 14 and the priority will be given to students and residents who have lost their jobs,” Jribi said at a press briefing at the government’s headquarters in Tunis on Wednesday.

The national strategy for partial lifting the lockdown has three stages, with the first carried out from May 4 to 24, the second from May 24 to June 4, and the third from June 4 to 14.

The Tunisian government imposed strict confinement measures shortly after the announcement of the first coronavirus case on March 2.

Tunisia reported no new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. The total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country remained at 1,087.

According to a ministry statement, a total of 968 patients have recovered in Tunisia while 49 deaths were reported in 15 provinces.

The North African country has received several batches of medical aid from the Chinese government, foundations and companies since late March to help its fight against the pandemic.


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S. African gov’t to appeal court ruling invalidating some lockdown regulations




The South African government announced on Thursday that it has decided to appeal a court ruling which declares some of its COVID-19 lockdown regulations invalid and unconstitutional.

The government will ask that its appeal be heard on an urgent basis so that it can obtain certainty on the regulations, spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a statement after a virtual cabinet meeting in Pretoria.

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will be joined in this appeal by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, according to Williams.

The cabinet wishes to assure the nation that all interventions introduced since the declaration of a state of national disaster in March 2020 by Ramaphosa have been directed primarily at saving lives, Williams said.

In implementing these interventions, the government has consistently consulted all sectors of society, as the fight against COVID-19 is a national effort that requires unity in action between the government and all South Africans, said Williams.

On Tuesday, the North Gauteng High Court ruled against the COVID-19 lockdown regulations in the country.

“Some of the regulations promulgated by the government simply did not meet the rationality test in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” the court said in its ruling.

The court suspended the declaration of invalidity for a period of 14 days, meaning that the current Alert Level Three regulations remain in operation for now so as to allow Dlamini-Zuma, in consultation with relevant ministers, to review, amend and republish the regulations with “due consideration to the limitation each regulation has on the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.”

Williams said that after obtaining legal advice and listening to numerous comments made by members of the legal fraternity in reaction to the judgement, “we are of the view that another court might come to a different conclusion on the matter.”

“While government appeals the court judgment, current regulations remain in force and we appeal and urge all our people to observe all the health protocols that have been put in place including washing of hands, social distancing, wearing of masks in public as well as screening and referral for testing where necessary,” Williams said.

She said the cabinet has approved the extension of the National State of Disaster by another month from June 15 to July 15.

The law allows for the National State of Disaster to last for 90 days which necessitates the extension, Williams said.


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COVID-19 lockdown shrinks S. African economy




The COVID-19 induced lockdown will cause a loss of over 5.5 billion U.S. dollars to the country’s economy following the cancellation or postponement of the events in the creative industry, said the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) on Thursday.

The SACO conducted an online study on the impact of COVID-19 induced lockdown to the sector.

Of the 595 usable responses from performing arts, heritage, publishing, music, film, video, and design and support activates, 95 percent had their activities cancelled or indefinitely postponed, while 45 percent of the respondents did not continue with any normal business activities during lockdown.

“We are hopeful that the report provides relevant insights about the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic and will jolt both decision makers in the public and private sector as well as the society at large to think deeply about the role we can all play to contribute in supporting the sector,” said Unathi Lutshaba, SACO executive director.

The SACO is a national research project of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture. They conduct economic researches and provide policy and sector relevant information about the economic value of the cultural and creative industries.


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Lockdown: NSCDC in Kaduna arrest 21 suspects in hotels



The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Kaduna Command, said it  arrested 21 suspects in hotels at about 1:00 am of Thursday in Kaduna metropolis for violating the lockdown order over COVID-19 pandemic.

The Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASC Orndiir Terzungwe made the disclosure at a press briefing on Thursday in Kaduna.

Terzungwe said the command was worried by complaints of inadequate compliance with lockdown down order by Kaduna State government which was still in force.

He explained that the command carried out raid of some hotels within the metropolis, resulting to the arrest of 21 suspects for violation of the order.

According to him, the choice of the location for the raid was informed by complaints of crimes in the areas in spite of measures by security agencies.

“Credible intelligence survey reveals that Millennium city and Kigo Road are among hubs of illegalities which the command has resolved to take drastic actions in reversing the ugly trend.

“The lockdown order which is still in place requires all bars,  clubs, schools and worship centres to remain shut until further directives,” he said.

Terzungwe said on completion of investigations,  all the suspects will be charged to court for violation of the lockdown.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that to control the COVID- 19 pandemic, Kaduna State Government had locked down the state,  but created a three days window on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for residents to restock essentials.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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UK new car sales collapse in May as lockdown continues to impact market




New car registration in Britain plunged by 89 percent in May compared with the same month a year earlier, as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions continued to impact the market, according to a report released Thursday.

Some 20,247 cars were registered in May, even though “click and collect” services were introduced from mid-month in a bid to inject some momentum into the market, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in the report.

Data showed that apart from battery electric vehicles, all segments and fuel types saw severe declines, with the sales of diesel and petrol vehicles in the month plummeting by 93 percent and 90.5 percent respectively over the same month last year.

The figures came as car showrooms in England have been allowed to re-open since the beginning of June following more than two months of shutdown. Car showrooms remain closed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland until next week.

“After a second month of shutdown and the inevitable yet devastating impact on the market, this week’s re-opening of dealerships is a pivotal moment for the entire industry and the thousands of people whose jobs depend on it,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT.

“Customers keen to trade up into the latest, cutting-edge new cars are now able to return to showrooms and early reports suggest there is good business given the circumstances, although it is far too early to tell how demand will pan out over the coming weeks and months,” said Hawes.

Hawes added that restarting the market is a crucial “first step” in driving the recovery of the country’s critical car manufacturers and supply chain, and supporting the wider economy.

“Ensuring people have the confidence to invest in the latest vehicles will not only help them get on the move safely, but these new models will also help address some of the environmental challenges the UK faces in the long term,” he said.


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Thai gov’t hints at allowing reopening of high-risk businesses for next phase of lockdown relaxation




Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Thursday revealed that the government is considering which high-risk businesses will be allowed to reopen in the easing of Phase Four lockdown restrictions.

“Until a vaccine is available, the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for months or even years,” said CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin.

“Therefore the government has to be extremely cautious in considering which “red” (high contagion risk) businesses could reopen,” said the spokesman.

The CCSA had already sent out questionnaires to operators of “red” businesses to report their COVID-19 preventive measures and plans, so the government can then assess whether that particular operator is allowed to open and at what conditions.

Taweesin hinted that high-risk businesses that may reopen in Phase Four include educational institutes, meeting rooms holding more than 200 attendees, national parks, beaches, amusement parks, gyms, sports stadiums, convention calls, entertainment venues such as pubs, bars and karaoke outlets, large massage parlours.

The CCSA spokesman said the venues he mentioned are not confirmed yet as they need to be approved by the Cabinet meeting.


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Rwanda’s border town Rusizi partly put under strict lockdown following COVID-19 outbreak




Rusizi district in western Rwanda from Thursday has been partly placed under a lockdown that will last for two weeks based on the assessment of COVID-19 outbreak in the region, Rwandan Ministry of Local Government said.

In the three sectors that make up Rusizi’s Kamembe area, unnecessary movements and visits outside home are not permitted except for essential services such as healthcare, food shopping or banking, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry directed all employees, both public and private, to continue working from home, except those providing essential services.

Travel between Kamembe town and other areas is banned except travels for medical reasons or essential services, it said.

The government also banned operations of shops and markets, except those selling food, medicine, fuel, cleaning products and other essential services.

The statement also indicated that restaurants and hotels in Kamembe may use few workers and only sell takeaway.

Other areas in Rusizi will continue to operate normally but must adhere to guidelines from the ministry of health including social distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks in public and washing of hands frequently, according to the statement.

Relevant authorities will continue to monitor the situation to know if there are other areas in the district that need to be put under the lockdown, it said.

Thirteen COVID-19 cases were reported on Wednesday in Rusizi that borders Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to the ministry of health.

The move came after Rwanda further eased a nationwide lockdown aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19, whereby transport between provinces and motorcycle passenger service have been resumed except in Rusizi and Rubavu, another town bordering DRC.


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Lockdown: PCN commences enforcement activities



The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has warned quacks to stop their deadly activities or risk atrest and prosecution.

The council said its national enforcement team had mapped out strategies to resume activities earlier hampered by the restriction of movement in parts of the country due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Elijah Mohammed, the Registrar of the council, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

Mohammed said the enforcement activities would ensure that only registered and licensed premises are allowed to service the citizens.

According to him, in doing so, PCN will take all necessary safety measures to protect the enforcement team.

“Furthermore, it is heartwarming that inspection activities which was also put on hold have kicked off in most states of the federation where lockdown has been eased.

The PCN is particularly delighted at the way pharmacists in all spheres of practices have conducted themselves ethically while delivering exceptional service as we all strive to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately, we observed that some of our colleagues were harassed by law enforcement officials as they went about their lawful duties.

“To this end, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria has decided to re-produce Identification Cards for all registered and licensed pharmacists in Nigeria free of charge.

However, I would like to encourage all pharmacists to take advantage of the different Federal Government initiatives aimed at developing the healthcare sector especially the pharmaceutical industry,” said the registrar.

Mohammed noted that the proactive measures adopted by the council to automate its processes especially Licensing and Continuing Education, was beginning to yield dividends.

He said that in spite of the lockdown, the registration and licensing of pharmacists and pharmaceutical premises has continued to run seamlessly.

Mohammed stated that applications from fresh applicants, which were paper based, were affected by the lockdown.

“Let me assure all the applicants that the paper based forms so received are being processed for registration and issuance of licenses along with other applications received online.

“The first cycle of the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Orientation Programme (FPGOP) earlier put on hold due to the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic, would take place as soon as it is safe to do so.

“We therefore appeal to all prospective applicants to please be patient.

“I would also like to appeal to all prospective pharmacists awaiting induction in some Faculties of Pharmacy, to be assured that the council is exploring all avenues to ensure that they are inducted into the profession as soon as possible,” he said.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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