Coronavirus: FG orders full reopening of schools, NYSC Camps

The federal government has asked school administrators to start preparing for the full reopening of schools.

Dr Sani Aliyu, National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 disclosed this during a press briefing at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, on Thursday.

Aliyu, who directed schools to conduct risk assessment, said the reopening would be done in phases.

“For educational institutions which include daycare, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions,  they should begin the process of working towards potentially reopening within this phase,” he said.

“However, we strongly recommend that states conduct risk assessment to ensure all schools are at a level of compliance and create a monitoring mechanism to assess, create, and monitor this level of preparedness.

Meanwhile, daycare centres should remain closed until this level of risk is assessed. If there will be opening of schools, it must be stage and preferably carried out in phases to ensure that this does not pose a risk to the public and in particular to vulnerable groups that might end up getting infected by students going back home.”

Likewise, Dr Aliyu has urged the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to start making preparations to reopen its orientation camps nationwide.

“The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is to consolidate on safety measures currently being put in place and start preparing for reopening of orientation camps when educational institutions reopen.

“We are in the process of developing a strict guideline to ensure that there is no outbreak of COVID-19 when orientation camp reopen,” he said.

The federal government also said it has removed all restrictions imposed on markets as parts of the measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

“Store owners must take responsibility and abide by all non-pharmaceutical interventions to safeguard the staff and patrons of their facilities,” Dr Aliyu said.

Aliyu said amusement parks, gyms and cinemas “can open but at half capacity and event centres that provide outdoor service spaces can open but indoor event centers.”

Despite the green light for markets to open fully, Aliyu said the government would still maintain “work at home policy for public servants below grade level 12.”

In a related development, the Federal Government has again reviewed the nationwide curfew. The curfew will now be in place for four hour daily from 12am to 4am.

“I will first of all start with general movement. We are modifying the curfew to commence from 12 midnight to 4am nationwide, effective from 12:00 tonight

“This does not apply to people on essential services and international travellers that might be returning from abroad,” Dr Aliyu said.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State government has said it has not lifted the restrictions on the opening of bars, restaurants, night clubs, lounges and cinemas, despite relaxation of the curfew to four hours (12.00 a.m to 4.00 a.m) by the Presidential Task Force.

This was disclosed in a statement on Thursday night by Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, who stated that: “All owners of hospitality establishments are warned to restrict their operations to 50 per cent of their occupancy rate as directed by Mr. Governor, in addition to observing the guidelines on physical distancing, use of face masks, temperature checks and washing of hands with soap and running water or using of hand sanitisers.

“Events centre operators are also to ensure that participants at any event in their premises do not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the design of their halls while strict compliance with the two-metre spacing between seats must be strictly enforced.

“The monitoring and compliance teams from the Lagos State Special Task Force will step-up enforcement to ensure that entertainment and event centres do not violate COVID-19 regulations. Non-compliance with the guidelines on COVID-19 will attract maximum sanctions in accordance with the law,” the statement further warned.

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