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COVID-19: Sanwo-Olu seeks resumption of Lagos-Abuja flights

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The Lagos State Government is trying to get the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to allow flights from Lagos to Abuja to operate, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said.

According to the governor, the move became necessary following the increasing impact of the closure of the airports on the state’s economy.

The governor lamented that the aviation industry, as well as the entertainment, hospitality and transportation sectors, had been “significantly” affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Government on March 23 shut all international airports in the country before it later extended the closure to all airports in the country, banning all local and international flights.

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Sanwo-Olu spoke as a panellist at a webinar hosted by FSDH Merchant Bank on Friday. The webinar, titled, ‘A global pandemic: local realities and peculiarities – a view from the frontlines’, was anchored by the Chairman, FSDH Holding Company, Mr Hakeem Belo-Osagie, and the bank’s Managing Director, Mrs Hamda Ambah.

Other panellists included the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai; his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki; Senior lecturer and consultant, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr Alero Ann Roberts; Director, Centre for International Development, Harvard University, Prof Asim Ijaz Khwaja, and Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School, Dr Jaya Wen.

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The governor said,

“In terms of direct economy, I know that the entertainment industry has been affected badly. I know the hospitality industry has been affected greatly, especially as people could not go out. It affected those sectors badly. Transportation business and the aviation sector have been affected significantly and these are large employers of labour. We all know that Nollywood employs many people, so we are thinking through how to reset these economies very quickly, but in a very gradual manner.

“So, the aviation industry has been badly hit and just this (Friday) morning, I spoke with a major player in that industry and we are trying to get the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to see whether we are going to resume Lagos–Abuja flights before we get to other sectors. There has to be some gradual process in lifting the lockdown.

“We will continue to have engagements with all of the players down the value chain. At the right time when we see that the t’s have been crossed and the i’s have been dotted, we will do that and you can hold us to that.”

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We’ll ban churches, mosques gatherings again if…, FG says

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The Federal Government has threatened to review the relaxation of the restriction placed on churches and mosques if worshippers disregard its guidelines.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said this on Thursday at the task force press conference in Abuja.

In the guidelines, the task force advises vulnerable people including those with conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer as well as people that are above 55 years to worship at home.

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Mustapha said the task force would continue to explain the guidelines it issued to worship centres and other public places.

On the reopening of churches and mosques, he stated,

“As we approach the weekend, we remind the public to be aware of the guidelines set for restricted opening of places of worship. National guidelines have been shared with the states and we expect that protocols will be agreed with religious leaders. Compliance is important so as to avoid unwanted consequences that put the lives of people at risk of contracting COVID-19. We urge utmost caution at all times.

“The PTF will continue to monitor the overall compliance to the easing of restriction as well as evolution of the outbreak. However, we will not hesitate to review as we progress, should the situation warrant, to avoid preventable risks of transmission.”

Mustapha restated that the World Health Organization had resumed the clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, which it suspended on May 25.

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COVID-19: Osun relaxes curfew, asks workers to resume

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COVID-19: Osun relaxes curfew, asks workers to resume

Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Thursday, announced a new set of guidelines that would guide the second phase of the gradual reopening of the state’s economy, following the lockdown imposed by the government in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also said all major markets would remain shut, while other markets would be opened but operators must ensure physical distancing and use their face masks, including observing all other precautionary measures in accordance with the established protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The governor had, on Wednesday, ordered the reopening of worship centres, but insisted that adherents of the two religions would only enjoy one hour of worship each on Friday and Sunday respectively, effective Friday, June 5, 2020.

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Apart from the reopening of mosques and churches, the governor has further relaxed the curfew earlier imposed on the state. The new curfew will now be from 9 pm to 5 am daily.

He, however, noted that these new measures would be for just two weeks in the first instance, just as he reiterated that the state’s boundaries remain closed.

READ ALSO: On the run COVID-19 patients worry FG

In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ismail Omipidan, the governor noted that the total lockdown earlier imposed on the state from Friday to Sunday has now been eased for the next 14 days in the first instance.

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He was, however, quick to add that, notwithstanding the easing of the lockdown, the ban on political, public, religious and any kind of gatherings under whatever guise remains in force.

The governor while thanking the people of the state for their support and cooperation during the period of the lockdown, also enjoined them to ensure the new measures on the gradual reopening of the economy are strictly adhered to.

He added that it was imperative to do that so that the state does not lose the gains it has so far recorded in the fight against the deadly coronavirus in Osun.

Oyetola also urged religious leaders to constantly remind their followers that the fight against COVID-19 is not over and all hands must be on deck to support the fight against the pandemic.

“As you are all aware, the Federal Government a few days ago lifted the ban on religious activities in the country. We have, therefore, lifted ours too after our meeting with religious leaders on Wednesday with specific guidelines.

“In furtherance to that, we have also further relaxed our curfew, as part of measures for the gradual reopening of our economy. Civil Servants on level 7 and above should go to work within normal office hours, while each department should work out and alternate working hours for workers on grade levels 1 to 6,” the governor was quoted to have said.

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On the run COVID-19 patients worry FG

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The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the Federal Government was disturbed by COVID-19 patients, who were fleeing isolation centres. This, he said, had worsened the transmission of the virus in communities.

The health minister said the government had problems in trying to convince some COVID-19 positive people that they had the virus.

He said,

“We also have issues with people who test positive and think you are going to look for them and then they run. So the figures don’t tally because people who think you are going to trace them don’t want to go into isolation.”

The health minister explained that the Federal Ministry of Health team sent to investigate the incidents in Kano, Sokoto, Jigawa, Borno, Katsina and Gombe had concluded its work and would submit its final report on Friday (today).

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Meanwhile, confirmed cases of coronavirus have increased to 11,516 in Nigeria.

This is after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced 350 new cases of COVID-19 in the country.

The NCDC made the announcement via its Twitter handle on Thursday.

It said,

“On the 4th of June 2020, 350 new confirmed cases and 8 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

“No new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

“To date, 11516 cases have been confirmed, 3535 cases have been discharged and 323 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The 350 new cases are reported from 20 states- Lagos (102), Ogun (34), FCT (29), Borno (26), Kaduna (23), Rivers (21), Kwara (16), Ebonyi (17), Katsina (14), Edo (10), Delta (10), Kano (10), Bauchi (10), Bayelsa (9), Imo (8), Plateau (4), Ondo (3), Nasarawa (2), Gombe (1), Oyo (1).”

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