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FG Decides on Interstate Travel Ban, Others Next Week

OKEKUNLE SUNDAY, IBADAN

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 said on Monday it had started reviewing the guidelines for lifting of the ban on interstate travels.

Friday Olokor, Adelani Adepegba, Ade Adesomoju and Wale Oyewale
According to him, the Ministry emphasising that like all other sub-nationals, governors were under the constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Oyo State Government, last week, announced that the primary 6 pupils, the Junior Secondary School 3, and the Senior Secondary School 3 students in the state would resume classes next Monday (June 29).

Makinde, who said that a team of experts were reviewing the pattern and progress made in the fight against the virus, said the opening of schools in the state was scheduled to be gradual.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, noted that confirmed cases in Nigeria had surpassed the 20,000 mark, reaching 20,244 between Sunday and Monday.

While talking on the increasing fatality rate, the minister said, “The experience we are getting suggests that some of the fatalities recorded in our country may possibly have been saved if they had arrived designated treatment centres early enough.

“It is also emerging that the clinical condition of COVID-19 patients, especially the elderly and those with underlying illnesses, can change from mild to critical within such a short time that patients hardly have time to seek hospital care.

“I again advise all hospitals to have the right index of suspicion and recognise and promptly refer suspected cases to designated hospitals.

FG berates Makinde, faults reopening of schools.

Mustapha said, “At the beginning of the month of June, the PTF announced a one-month period for the implementation of the second phase of eased lock down.

“We have continued to monitor developments nationwide in order to take informed decisions at the end of the month. We have exactly eight days to that point of decision.”

While answering a question on whether the government might consider a total lockdown again, Mustapha assured Nigerians that the decision that would be taken by month end would not any way amount to a change in strategy.

He said if there would be a change in strategy, it would be expected to come from the side of Nigerians.

The NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, noted that efforts were ongoing by the state governments to address the challenge.

Reacting to claims that some states are free of the virus, the DG said, “No single state is COVID-19-free.

No country in the world, even New Zealand that is an island state is still having new cases after a period of not having new cases.”

“So, right now, no state is COVID-19-free, that is why we have to keep doing this work that we are doing; testing people, finding out if they have it even if you don’t have it, you can spread it.

If you are asymptomatic, you live with others that are more vulnerable, they can get it.

“At the moment, it is very difficult to reduce the testing period to more than seven hours for conventional, and more than three hours to Gene Xpert.

The technology just doesn’t allow for that yet and that’s why we are looking for rapid diagnostic test kits that worked,” Ihekweazu stated.

The PTF coordinator said the guidelines submitted by the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, was being reviewed and the roads would be opened as soon as it is safe to do so.

He said, “At the moment, we still have restrictions on interstate travel, but we have been linking up with the Federal Ministry of Transportation through the Minister of State for Transportation.

“They have given us guidelines that they have developed : very detailed guidelines, and we have looked at them, summarised them and discussed at PTF last week.

“We have asked the Minister of State for Transportation to please engage with the road transport workers to make sure that the usual garages and parks that we have are ready in terms of guidelines that we have in place such as physical distancing, reducing the number of passengers per vehicle and provision of hand washing facilities etc.

“And I believe they are already working on this and hopefully, we should be able to open as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Aliyu expressed worry over the lack of compliance with safety protocols and urged states to increase the rate of their COVID-19 testing also asked them to make laws to make the wearing of masks in public space mandatory.

Late treatments contribute to death rate and FG to take decision month end.

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