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Covid-19 lockdown: Ekiti distributes foodstuffs, stipends

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Kayode Fayemi

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has announced a 14-day total shut down of the state and as well imposed 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew between 7 pm and 7 am effective from midnight on Monday.

Fayemi said,

“Effective from 11:59pm on Monday, March 30, 2020 until 11:59pm on Monday, April 13, 2020, there shall be restriction of movement across the length and breadth of Ekiti State, with all our borders closed.

“That is a full and total shut down of Ekiti State and a 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew in Ekiti State from 7:00pm – 7:00 am. All Ekiti residents are hereby directed to stay-at-home.”

The governor, who spoke in a statewide broadcast, said,

“We are implementing the Quarantine Act to keep all Ekiti residents safe. So, let me be clear. If you do not go home or stay home for at least 14 days as from Monday, 30 March, 2020, you could face serious fines or prison term.

“If we do not take steps necessary to contain this virus, it has the potential to overwhelm our health infrastructure, cripple our economy and devastate Ekiti State in unimaginable proportions.”

Fayemi, however, announced some palliative measures, especially for vulnerable members of the society and low paid workers who might feel the impact of the two-week lockdown. These included activation of food distribution scheme; stipends for self-employed citizens.

“I have directed that the Ekiti State Food Bank be reactivated immediately to provide food items to the poor and vulnerable families in our communities. The Task Force will announce the modalities as soon as the process is fully activated.

“The state government will consider providing a stipend to our self-employed citizens whose daily income will be interrupted at this time as subsidy for their loss of income. I have directed the Commissioners of Finance and Budget to advise on the amount the state can afford in view of our dire financial constraints,” the governor said.

He expressed disappointment with the lukewarm, nonchalant or downright defiance of some residents in observing compliance with the preventive actions to protect themselves from infection and curtail the spread of the virus in their communities.

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Fayemi also expressed joy that “as at this morning, Ekiti State has not recorded any additional case of confirmed coronavirus patient while our single patient is doing very well in our isolation centre, still without showing any symptom. We are hopeful that his repeat test will come back negative so he can be discharged soon”.

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To ensure the state is free, the governor said,

“We shall commence the disinfecting of major public places like markets, bus stops, motor parks, health facilities, and all likely places where the virus may be lurking across our state. Already, a massive cleanup and disinfection is ongoing in some locations in Ado Ekiti.

“I have also directed the Ministry of Health to begin the process of establishing a second isolation centre in Ado Ekiti. We currently have a 10-bed Isolation Center, but we must begin to increase our capacity up to 100 beds with necessary medical equipment required to manage suffering patients. We have also ordered more PPE for our medical personnel to protect them from infection while caring for the sick”.

According to the governor, during the two-week shutdown, “movement between local governments is prohibited; movement between towns, villages and communities is also prohibited; every person shall be confined to the place where he or she ordinarily resides in Ekiti State.

“All businesses and other entities shall cease operations during this period except those involved in the provision of essential goods or services. Markets, retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where essential goods are sold and with strict hygienic conditions to prevent the exposure of persons to COVID-19”.

According to him, those exempted included those performing essential services particularly health workers, members of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary; those into production, distribution and marketing of food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, medicine, paper and plastic packages, environmental and sanitation activities.

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Others exempted included staff of electricity, water, telecommunications, e-commerce and digital service providers, members of security agencies assigned on lawful duties; staff of banks and similar financial institutions; staff of fuel stations.

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Reopening of churches: We await further details, says CAN

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Coronavirus: Catholic church in Lagos suspends sprinkling of water, handshakes at mass over virus

The Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Christian Association of Nigeria [CAN] President, Adebayo Oladeji, said the association was awaiting further details on the reopening of churches.

This comes as the Federal Government relaxes restrictions on churches and mosques as coronavirus[COVID-19] pandemic rages.

Oladeji said the Church is ready for the reopening and willing to follow the NCDC guidelines.

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He said,

“We want to get the details before we will react fully. But in the interim, it is a welcome development. It is our prayer that God will surely deliver Nigeria from the pandemic in Jesus Name.

“If Christians and Muslims return to their worship places to pray for victory over COVID-19, God will surely answer us. The closure of the worship places is not acceptable to God. We thank God for opening the eyes of our government to the reality.

“The Church is ready for the reopening and willing to follow the NCDC guidelines and while waiting for them. We have already directed all churches to keep to the hygienic regulations whenever they meet and to pray for the victory over COVID-19. The new development is as a result of our meeting with the religious leaders.”

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Nigeria Update

COVID-19: Final year students may write exams in July; bars, clubs and gym remain closed

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday said final year students in its tertiary institutions may write their examination in July as the Federal Government begins the second phase of the gradual easing of restrictions placed on Nigerians over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the PTF press briefing in Abuja, said the reopening of churches and mosques would be based on guidelines issued by the task force and protocols agreed on by states.

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But the Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, noted that while markets would be opened and artisans could run their business, street hawking was prohibited.

Schools remain closed, final year students to prepare for exams

He added,

“All schools to remain closed until further evaluation. The Federal Ministry of Education is instructed to work with schools to start the process of preparing students that require exiting exams, to allow them to take exams early in the next phase of the lifting of the lockdown. But for the moment, schools are to remain closed.

“I have already mentioned places of worship. Restricted opening will apply subject to the guidelines issued by the PTF as well as the protocols agreed by respective state governments, working with religious leaders.

“Recreational parks and communal sports to remain closed until further evaluation.

He said for funerals, the task force was limiting the crowd to 20 people including family, with physical distancing adhered to, as well as hand washing.

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COVID-19: FG bans street trading, hawking

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), had approved the relaxation of restriction placed on churches and mosques starting from Tuesday.

The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the PTF press briefing in Abuja, said the reopening of churches and mosques would be based on guidelines issued by the task force and protocols agreed on by states.

But the Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, noted that while markets would be opened and artisans could run their business, street hawking was prohibited.

He said,

In terms of general movements, persons may go out for work, go out to buy necessary foods and for exercise, provided they abide by the curfew hours. Movement between local government areas is strongly discouraged unless for critical reasons such as health care and work.

“I will like to emphasise that it is still safer to stay at home and avoid crowds. The pandemic is not over in this country and the relaxation of some of the rules does not mean that it is safer to go out. If you do not need to go out, please continue to stay at home.

“Hawking and street trading is also prohibited and we will be looking into this in greater detail with state authorities.”

“With interstate travels, movement across state boundaries remains restricted other than the free movement of goods and essential travels. Security services are requested to please cooperate with members of the public and ensure that goods are provided with free passage, as this particular phase is directed at ensuring the economy starts moving again.

“With intrastate travel, we will implement new travel processes for areas of the country with high-burden local government areas, and this will be restricted to essential travels.”

The task force coordinator listed the new guidelines for reopening of offices in the public and private sectors.

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He said,

“For the industry and labour sectors, in terms of working hours, normal working hours will apply to offices other than government offices, provided this is kept within (outside) the curfew hours of 10pm to 4am. Offices are to maintain working at 75 per cent capacity while maintaining the two-metre physical distancing.

“For government offices, they can open between the hours of 9am and 2pm. So, no changes in opening hours but can work from Monday to Friday. Prior to this, we allowed three working days. However, all persons within the Grade Levels of 14 and above at both the federal and state governments will be allowed to come to work.”

 

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