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Coronavirus: Rivers reads riot act to commercial drivers

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Emergency rule: Some citizens plan to cause a breakdown of law and order in River state, says govt

Determined to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease into the state, the Rivers State Government has charged taxi and commercial bus drivers to henceforth take only three and 10 passengers respectively in their vehicles at a go.

The State Commissioner for Transport, Mr Sam Ejekwu, who gave this charge in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Monday, also said that while a passenger was expected to occupy the front seat of a taxi, only two passengers should occupy the back seat of the same vehicle.

For 14 or 18-seater commercial buses, Ejekwu maintained that while only one passenger must seat by the side of the drive, three persons were expected to occupy each row of a commercial bus.

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He said it was necessary to issue the rules after the State Ministry of Transport met with officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers and other stakeholders in the state’s transport sector.

According to the statement, “Everyone is aware of the challenges being faced by the global community around the COVID-19 pandemic. Commencing from Monday, the 23rd of March, 2020, all operators of commercial vehicles and passengers shall comply with the following regulations:

All taxis shall admit or take a total of three passengers namely one person in the front seat and two persons at the passenger sides immediately behind the front seats.

“It is an offence to condone, connive or be an overloaded passenger. A person is said to be overloaded if found seated next to the door either in the front section of the vehicle or on the door side for the passenger immediately behind the front seats.

“All buses shall admit or convey a total of five passengers for Suzuki buses, 10 passengers for 14 and 18-seater buses. One passenger in the front seat and three passengers per seat row subsequently. Two passengers at the back for Keke NAPEP. Just the rider in the front seat and two passengers at the back.”

The commissioner added that beginning from Monday, March 23rd, 2020, all passenger must maintain regular queues and orderly lines to avoid needless rough contacts and struggles that could to altercations and spitting out droplets.

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Speaking further, Ejekwu said:

“All taxis and buses shall keep and restock their vehicles with wipes, tissues and other disposable items for use by passengers to wipe down the car doors and other handles.

“These directives shall be supervised, coordinated and enforced by the Road Marshalls of the Ministry of Transport, Rivers State and NURTW officials.

“Members of the public and transport operators are enjoined to give the state government their fullest support at this challenging moment of our collective existence.”

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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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