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BREAKING: FG lifts ban on schools resumption, inter-state travels

*Academic activities to affect JSS3 and SS3 students in phase 1

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved ‘safe’ resumption of academic work in schools and airports based on the report submitted by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 headed by Boss Mustapha.

Briefing newsmen in Abuja on Monday, Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), disclosed that Buhari equally approved the lifting of ban on inter-state travels, but still to shut any form of movement during the curfew period of 10pm and 4am.

According to the SGF: “​I am pleased to inform you that Mr. President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later, the Phase Two of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020 through Midnight of Monday, 27 July, 2020,” he said.

The PTF chairman disclosed that the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect:

i. Maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated by the National Coordinator;

ii. Permission of movement across State borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July, 2020;

iii. Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular, the use of face masks in public places;

iv. Safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations;

v. Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable;

vi. Publication of revised guidelines around the three thematic areas of general movement, industry and labour; and community activities;

vii. Provision of technical support for states to mobilise additional resources for the response;

viii. Strengthening partnerships with States, Local Governments, traditional rulers, community/religious leaders and civil society to ensure increased public awareness and compliance with preventive guidelines;

ix. Encouraging State governments to empower Local Government Authorities to intensify contact tracing efforts and ensure stronger grassroots mobilisation to support the response;
x. Encourage States and Hospital authorities to ensure continuity of other health services to prevent fatalities from other life-threatening conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
xi. Deepening of collaboration with other mandate groups at States/Federal levels to harmonise the country’s COVID-19 response in the short, medium and long terms.
18.​The National Coordinator will in due course announce and publish the details of the revised guidelines while relevant MDAs including Education, Transportation and Aviation will respectively consult further with stakeholders and issue guidelines for their sectors.

By mentioning graduation classes, analysts believe that the SGF included students in the Junior and Senior Secondary classes, as well as students of tertiary institutions who are writing their degree or other final and professional examinations.

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