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Minister of State for Education says Schools Will Not Reopen on June 8

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389 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in Nigeria

According to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), 256 cases were recorded in Lagos, 13 in Katsina, 23 in Edo, 22 in River, 14 Kano, 13 in Adamawa, 11 in Akwa Ibom, 11 in Kaduna, 7 in Kwara, 6 in Nasarawa, 2 in Plateau, 2 in Abia, 2 in Delta, 2 in Benue, 2 in Niger, 2 Kogi-2 in Oyo, 2 in Imo, 1 in Borno, 1 in Ogun, 1 in Anambra State.

In total, Nigeria has now recorded 8733 cases of COVID-19. 2501 patients have been discharged from various Isolation centres across the country, while 254 deaths have been recorded.


Two UK Flights To Evacuate Citizens From Nigeria

Minister of Foreign Affairs – Geoffrey Onyeama

Two flights from the UK will be coming into Nigeria to evacuate British citizens in the country. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, announced this on Wednesday, during the briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

He, however, noted that it would not be possible to take advantage of the situation to evacuate Nigerian citizens in the UK. Speaking further, he noted that the ministry is developing new guidelines for citizens seeking to be evacuated.

He explained that part of the new guidelines would require that intending evacuees must do a compulsory test for the COVID-19 at least five days to their departure. Meanwhile, the minister also affirmed that 69 Nigerian girls trafficked to Lebanon have been rescued and evacuated back to the country.

According to a statement shared via the minister’s personal Twitter page, here’s a lowdown of what he said:

#PTFCOVID19 Update on evacuation process-
With regards to the evacuees in the UK, that they have been made aware through a publication from the UK High Commissioner in Abuja that there will be 2 or 3 flights coming into the country to evacuate British nationals:

As you know the last time there was such a flight, we were able to have Nigerian evacuees in UK board the flight. The situation with the flight now coming is that the UK Government which is effectively chartering these planes, in the contract that they have with those companies are to carry passengers ONLY from Nigeria back to the UK.

Furthermore, the plans we have in place is to use a Nigerian carrier to evacuate Nigerians from all the countries around the world where we have an evacuation operation. The issue of quarantining in hotels would no longer be feasible. There is going to be a change in that protocol and that is going to affect the timing of any further evacuation we are going to undertake.

Anybody that is going to be evacuated will, first of all, undergo a test from the countries they are leaving from, at least five days before travel and not later than nine days before. That will be a pre-condition for boarding the flights to Nigeria. If they are positive, they will not be able to board the flight.

On arrival in Nigeria, @AlikoDangote and his other partners will have in place these units where they will take samples from the passengers coming in and they will retain their passports. The passengers will then be able to go home and not into prescribed hotels to self-isolate.

Results from those samples will then be ready within a day or two; those who are positive will then be taken in for isolation.
The whole issue of quarantining in hotels will no longer be necessary. This can also mean more people can also come back more frequently, and it will be a lot easier than it has been up to now. What we have been asked to do is to cease or suspend all evacuations for now until this new structure is put into place.

We are very hopeful that maybe by next week, we should be able to commence evacuation. There is a large number of Nigerians still wanting to be evacuated, in addition to the UK, there are Nigerians in China, this is something we are not happy about. It is a real priority for us to bring all the evacuees back home, but we know those in China are facing very essential challenges and as soon this mechanism is put in place, I’d like to assure them that we’ll do everything possible to prioritise their return.

In regards to compensation to Nigerians who were caught up in the crisis in #Guangzhou, China due to the discrimination on the basis of nationality and race:

I spoke to the Consular General in Guangzhou who was in direct contact with the Nigerians there to provide details of any loss they may have suffered. We will now engage on that basis, with the Chinese Government. When I summoned the Chinese Ambassador, Mr Zhou Pingjian, he also made these commitments, that they will be very interested to receive the details of any complaints or loss, and I must say to date that nothing has come informally from our Consulate in Guangzhou.

In regards to issue with the landing clearance for @flyairpeace in Canada: Our High Commissioner in Canada engaged with the Canadian authorities, I called in the Canadian High Commissioner in Nigeria, @PaulGibbardCda to understand why Air Peace wasn’t given landing clearance and the explanation was essentially that Air Peace do not have a track record of going to Canada, so the whole profile of the carrier needed to be ascertained.

We again express our thanks to the Government of #Lebanon for helping to facilitate the evacuation of 69 Nigerians and also the Lebanese community in Nigeria who funded the cost of the flight.


Minister of State for Education debunks reports that schools are set to reopen on June 8

During the Task Force briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said that the Federal Government is considering sectionalising classes for primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions in the country ahead of the reopening of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. He also debunked reports that schools are set to reopen on June 8.

The minister said:

The material that the Chairman of the PTF spoke about, which is an announcement purportedly from him that we are reopening all schools on the 8th did not emanate from us. That is not true.

Until we are sure that these children can go to school, return safely and not bring home with them, this COVID material, and infect people who are more susceptible to the disease than they are, then we are running a huge risk and god forbid that in our hurry, something happens to our children, I’m not sure how anybody will be able to retrieve what would have been lost.

So we are not taking that risk yet. We are going to prepare as much as possible, within the guidance that they (health authorities) offer us, working in conjunction with the World Health Organisation before we reopen schools.


Olorunnimbe Mamora confirms a reduction in COVID-19 mortality rate 

Sen Olorunnimbe Mamora

During the PTF COVID-19 media briefing on Wednesday, the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, disclosed that there is a general reduction in mortality rate & continuous improvement in recoveries when compared to the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

As we prepare for the next phase of response & easing of the lockdown, we have carried out a high-level technical session on the strategic output of mid-action review. We have also identified priority activities for the next phase of response.

The meeting I had last week with Traditional Complementary & Alternative Medicine practitioners, provided an opportunity for them to understand the procedures for validating any medicine in the country & enabled them to identify common grounds for collaboration.

The Minister mentioned that the government body has commenced the development of sector-specific advisories, for the reopening of various sectors in the country & that training on case management is ongoing for health workers in states across the country.

Mamora further stated that the WHO provides guidance and guidelines and does not dictate, because every country has its own peculiarities. He said:

We are still working on drugs. Don’t forget that even the hydroxychloroquine is still being worked on as we speak. It’s important for us to make it clear that the WHO does not dictate to countries as to what to do.

They only provide guidance and guidelines, not dictate, because the reality is that each country is expected to look at those realities on the ground and leave room for innovation, flexibility and adaptation as dictated by the realities on ground in each country. So we’re still looking at the issues of drugs; we are still looking at the issues of vaccine as well, also in the areas of research.


Kano records three more COVID-19 deaths

Three more COVID-19 deaths were recorded in Kano state on Wednesday, May 27. This was disclosed on the state Ministry of Health’s Twitter handle. One more COVID19 patient was discharged while 13 new cases were recorded.

135 patients have so far been discharged from the state’s Isolation centres while 41 deaths have so far been recorded.


87 patients discharged from Lagos State isolation centres

The Lagos State Ministry of Health made this known in a series of tweets on Wednesday. The patients were discharged after testing negative twice for the virus.

The LSMOH said, “87 #COVID-19 Lagos patients: 40 females and 47 males – all Nigerians have been discharged from our Isolation facilities to reunite with the society

“The patients; 26 from Mainland Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, 24 from Onikan, 12 from Eti-Osa (LandMark),11 from Agidingbi, nine from Gbagada and five LUTH Isolation Centres were discharged having fully recovered and tested negative to COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, five patients have died of coronavirus-related complications in Lagos, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state to 47.


Niger State extends lockdown by two weeks

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello has announced the extension of the State COVID-19 Preventive, Containment, and Emergency Order by two weeks starting from Wednesday, 27th May 2020.

A statement issued by Niger State Task Force on COVID-19, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane disclosed that the extension of the lockdown is as a result of the increase of confirmed cases in the state & the need to protect people of the state from contracting coronavirus.

The statement says:

The Governor reminded the people of the State to adhere strictly to the safety protocols of COVID-19 such as the mandatory wearing of face masks in public places, observance of social distancing, regular handwashing with soap under running water application of hand sanitizers and stay at home as advised by health workers.

Furthermore, there shall be no human and vehicular movements on the lockdown days except those on essential services, adding that the three days window period of Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays remain, the statement added. The Governor disclosed that movement within border areas remain restricted and monitored except for those on essential services, stressing that even those eligible to cross into the State will be examined and screened thoroughly by medical personnel.

According to the statement “Public and Private Schools, as well as Tertiary Institutions, remain closed while social activities that involve more than twenty people stand prohibited”. He further stated operations of commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada remain banned while other commercial vehicles abide by the Ministry of Transport guidelines.

The SSG urged the people of the State to support Gov’t intentions which are designed to keep everyone safe from the dreaded disease, stressing that coronavirus remains very infectious & disruptive disease, therefore called for collective action to curb the spread of the virus.

The Chairman stated that the State Task Force on COVID-19 Pandemic has a duty to work closely with all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure that everything is been done to contain the spread of the virus in the State. Ahmed Matane warned that anybody that fails to comply with the restriction, prohibition or requirement imposed under the COVID-19 Order or do anything contrary to the provisions of this Order shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment or both fine and imprisonment in accordance with the extant laws.

Photo Credit: GovNiger

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