Schools May Not Resume In Nigeria On January 18 As Planned – FG

Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Mr. Adamu Adamu

Contrary to the earlier date fixed by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the resumption of schools in the country, the government said yesterday that it will review the January 18 date earlier fixed for resumption.

Minister of Education, Mr. Adamu Adamu made the disclosure yesterday at a press briefing by the Presidential Task Force on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Abuja, Nigeria. Adamu who stated that a new date might be announced depending on the nation’s COVID-19 indicators attributed the decision to review the resumption date to the second wave of COVID-19 currently ravaging the country.

He said, “It (January 18 date of school reopening) is not sacrosanct. When we decided on that date, it was just a target towards what we were working on. Of course, we are keeping it in view and looking at what is happening in society and then it is supposed to be subject to constant review.

“Even today (Monday) at the PTF meeting, we looked at the rising figures and thought about if we should probably take another look at it. We are reviewing it, we are going to review it. At the PTF meeting today (Monday) we considered it and tomorrow (today), the ministry is going to take it up,” he said.

The minister said the issue was considered at the PTF meeting held yesterday and the ministry would take it up on Tuesday (today). The number of active cases of the viral infection keeps surging for the past few days, a situation that has become concern to the government and the citizenry. While the country is yet to procure any vaccine against the virus, experts have continued to advise Nigerians to adhere strictly to the safely protocols earlier outlined by the WHO and NCDC to curtail its spread.

Also speaking, the national coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said the PTF and the governors met last week to review the COVID-19 protocol and deepen the community engagement and enforcement of protocols. He added that the talks also included reviewing curfew hours put in place as a curb to nightly activities and entertainment, which are considered to be driving the upsurge in COVID-19 cases nationwide.

The federal government last June had reduced the curfew introduced at the onset of the pandemic from 8pm to 6am to 10pm to 4am. It had also relaxed the restrictions placed on religious gatherings and gatherings with more than 20 people, among others. Already, some of the states have come up with new curfew period with the Ekiti State Government on Sunday imposing an indefinite night curfew and a ban on large crowds in the state to check the spread of COVID-19.

The government said the curfew, to take effect from yesterday, would be from 8pm to 6am. Aliyu also said the federal government has changed the validity of the COVID-19 PCR test for international passengers outside the country. The federal government on Sunday had issued a new provisional quarantine protocol for passengers arriving in the country.

The COVID-19 response protocol, which came into effect from yesterday, was signed by Mustapha. While shedding light on the new protocol, Aliyu said incoming passengers are now required to present PCR negative certificate that are valid within the country for 96 hours or four days and not 120 hours.

Airlines have also been duly informed to from yesterday note that PCR tests done more than 96 hours before departure are no longer valid and persons that do not have it should not be allowed to board flights to Nigeria. Aliyu added that it will also be necessary for inbound travellers to access the travel portal, fill in the health questionnaire, upload the PCR result and print out the permit to travel or the PR Code.

“If you don’t have your permit to travel, you would be denied boarding. And this especially so for passengers just coming from South Africa and the UK. You have to pay before you board to Nigeria. If you don’t, the airlines won’t allow you to board,” Aliyu stated.

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