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Lockdown: Yobe introduces mobile courts to prosecute violators



The Yobe State Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Tuesday said that mobile courts would prosecute violators of the borders closure directive in the state.

Abdullahi Bego, the Commissioner, Ministry of Information, Home Affairs and Culture, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the committee’s fifth meeting in Damaturu.

Bego, also a member of the Committee, said that mobile courts were being established to prosecute offenders who try to circumvent the borders closure directive, including driver and passengers.

The committee particularly warned trailer drivers to desist from carrying passengers other than the three persons authorised to be on board as earlier announced by the committee.

Bego said that security officials would conduct stop and search operations in major motor parks to ensure that passengers were accounted for.

He advised residents across the state to use face masks whenever they were in public places.

The commissioner said that the committee would liaise with hotel owners to ensure that all guests were accounted for, and that no guests from areas with confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks stay without authorisation.

He enjoined border communities to participate actively in the enforcement of border closure and to report any breaches to authorities in the community.

The committee advised the general public on social distancing, regular washing of hands, as well as staying at home most of the time to prevent transmission of the disease.

Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)


TAMPAN relaxes lockdown on movie production, reels out recommendations



The Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Producers Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN) has relaxed restriction on movie production, initially banned due to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

Its National President, Bolaji Amusan, popularly known as “Mr Latin”, announced this in a statement in Lagos, adding that, this was in line with Lagos State government’s relaxation order which took effect from June 1.

“Dear distinguished members of our great association, TAMPAN, I salute your endurance considering the sufferings you have encountered with the unfortunate Coronavirus.

“Even in the heat of provocations of the suffering naturally caused by this hazardous global crisis, you stood firm with us and abided by the proclamations of the association to stop shooting of films and other related productions.

“In order to mitigate the effect that the pandemic has on our filmmaking ventures and personal lives, I hereby relax the lockdown on location order I earlier issued.

“This decision is based on the declaration of our state governments’ relaxation order taking effect from June 1, 2020,” he said.

Amusan said it was essential for the artistes to know that the pandemic had not been completely defeated as COVID-19 was still very real.

He urged the artistes to take the necessary precautionary measures that would protect them from contacting the virus in the course of their works.

He said part of the measures to put in place subsequently on movie locations was that producers must provide soap and running water for constant washing of hands by both the cast and crew members.

“The movie producer must also provide sanitisers, as it is compulsory for everybody on set to sanitise their hands, every ten minutes.

“Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, coughing or sneezing repeatedly, and quickly report such cases to the production managers for necessary actions.

“Since the virus can spread through breathing in droplets from an infected person, the sitting arrangement in the location bus should be two persons per seat in tandem with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC)  standard.

“Use of nose and mouth mask whenever not acting before the camera is highly advised,” he said.

Amusan said that the significance of these recommendations was to prevent artistes from the potential risks of COVID-19 because the collaborative nature of filmmaking would not allow for social distancing.

“I thank you once again for being law-abiding members of this association and citizens of our great country Nigeria, continue to be responsible, together we shall sail through the pandemic,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)



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Lockdown: Abia lawmaker, brother distribute palliatives to monarchs, clergymen



An Abia lawmaker, Chief Philip Igwe, and his elder brother, Chris, have donated palliatives worth millions of naira to traditional rulers and clergymen in Umunneochi State Constituency to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown in the state.
In a statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria , in Umuahia on Monday, the legislator listed the items to include 160 bags of 100Kg rice, 2,100 liquid hand sanitisers and 300 bags of 50kg fertiliser.
Other items were two cartons of personal protective equipment donated by members of Harvard University Alumni Association, who were Chris’ classmates to be distributed to health workers.
Dr Ken Madubuike, who handed over the items to the beneficiaries at Umunneochi Local Government headquarters on behalf of the donors, described the gesture as exemplary since the state government introduced the lockdown.
Madubuike said that the beneficiaries also included members of the Chrisnak Friends Club (CFC), a non-governmental organisation, founded by Chris, a Lagos-based business mogul and philanthropist.
He said that Umunneochi Agricultural Revolution (UAR), an initiative of the lawmaker to encourage agriculture, otherwise called “Operation 10,000 farmers”, got 300 bags of fertiliser.
He said that the monarchs got 30 bags of rice and N100,000; clergymen, 25 bags of rice, while CFC members got 105 bags of rice plus N130,000.
Speaking further on behalf of the donors he said that the palliatives were meant to support Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s efforts to cushion the economic impact of the lockdown on the people.
According to the donors, there is an urgent need to take proactive steps to explore the huge agricultural potential in view of the anticipated post-Covid-19 uncertainties.
Quoting the lawmaker, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Madubuike said: “Due to the debilitating effect of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, it has become highly imperative for our people to return to agriculture.
“Having initiated constituency farming as solution to the economic downturn, I hereby renew my call on all Umunneochi households to get back to land this farming season ahead of the post-COVID-19 economic uncertainties.”
He urged the leadership of UAR to ensure that only genuine farmers, “who are determined to ensure the success of the back-to-land agricultural project”, benefitted from the fertiliser.
In their separate responses, the beneficiaries thanked the Igwes for their magnanimity and concern for the wellbeing of their people during the challenging period.
The Chairman of Umunneochi Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Jonathan Obasi, said the monarchs were grateful for the gesture and thanked the donors for remembering the monarchs.
Also, the Project Coordinator of UAR, Mr Chuks Madu, said the group would make effective use of the fertiliser to ensure post-COVID-19 food security in the area.
Madu said: “We have fertile, arable land in Umunneochi. What we need is encouragement and incentives and we shall make Umunneochi the food basket of Abia.
“The fertiliser will go a long way to help us to achive this noble mission,” he said. .

Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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BiH, UNICEF organize online workshops for teachers during COVID-19 lockdown




Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) education authorities, along with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) BiH, have organized 20 online workshops for elementary school and high school teachers during the COVID-19 lockdown, UNICEF BiH said in a press statement on Monday.

According to UNICEF BiH, over 4,000 education professionals from BiH and its neighboring countries participated in workshops from April till June. Teachers used the opportunity to learn new digital skills to improve their online teaching practice, it noted.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, primary and secondary schools in BiH have been closed since mid-March, resulting in around 400,000 children being schooled online in their homes.

Educational institutions in BiH have introduced teaching via online platforms so that school shutdowns did not stop learning, the UNICEF BiH said.

“This pandemic opened windows of opportunity for innovations in the education system and introduction of digital content, during and after the pandemic. The quality of education is dependent on the quality of teaching, and it is crucial to support teachers to develop their professional skills to adapt to the new environment,” said Dr. Rownak Khan, UNICEF representative in BiH.

According to the Ministry of Education of Canton Sarajevo, the school year in elementary and high-schools ends on June 9.

Since the epidemiological situation improves significantly, it is expected that children will be back in schools on Sept. 2 when the next school year begins.


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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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