Nigeria: FG lifts ban on interstate travels, approves ‘safe reopening’ of schools

Members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID–19 Pandemic led by the SGF, Boss Mustapha, briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on their activities Minday afternoon, at the State House, Abuja. June 29, 2020

The Federal Government has approved the lifting of the ban placed on interstate travels with effect from July 1, only for journeys made outside curfew hours.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday.

Likewise, students due to graduate this year will also be able to go back to school to prepare for exams, though other children are still barred from attending, Mustapha, has said.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), also disclosed that government has approved the safe resumption of domestic flights in the country.

According to him, the latest developments were contained in the task force’s 5th interim report which was submitted to the President Muhammadu Buhari, earlier in the day.

“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.

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“Specifically, however, the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect:

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

“Permission of movement across state borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July, 2020;

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

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

“Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable;

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

“Provision of technical support for states to mobilise additional resources for the response.”

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with around 200 million people, has reported 24,000 cases of the virus and 565 deaths as of Sunday.

Authorities have imposed a 10pm to 4am curfew and ordered people to wear masks in public places to curb the spread of the virus. Gatherings are limited to 20 people.

“We have observed with growing concern the non-compliances with these measures designed to prevent transmission.

“We run the risk of erasing the gains made in the last three months,” Mustapha said.