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Sierra Leone records first coronavirus case

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(BREAKING) Coronavirus: Two nurses, one doctor allegedly tests positive in Abuja hospital

Sierra Leone has recorded its first case of the new coronavirus, the government said on Tuesday, making it the latest African country to register an infection.

In a televised press conference, President Julius Maada Bio said that a 37-year-old man who arrived in the country from France on March 16 had tested positive.

The man had been quarantined on arrival in the West African state, Bio said.

“It was not a matter of whether, but when. Ladies and gentlemen, the when is here,” the president said.

Sierra Leone had been one of the few countries in Africa to have reported zero cases, despite neighbouring Guinea and Liberia having detected infections.

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There are fears that, like its neighbours, the poor nation of 7.5 million people is particularly exposed to an outbreak.

The former British colony was badly hit by the 2014-2016 West African Ebola crisis, which killed almost 4,000 people in Sierra Leone.

On Tuesday, Bio said authorities were aggressively tracing people who may have come into contact with the infected patient, and urged people to report anyone with coronavirus symptoms to the authorities.

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The government had already announcement anti-virus measures. Land borders are closed, international flights banned, and schools were shut from Tuesday until further notice, among other measures.

“The government will respond rapidly to changes in the situation by announcing additional enhanced measures,” Bio said.

Six of Africa’s 54 nations have been spared the coronavirus to date: South Sudan, Burundi, Sao Tome and Principe, Malawi, Lesotho and Comoros.

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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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